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US Army lost telemetry during PrSM ‘max-range' test, missile's range unclear

Photo from the inaugural flight of Lockheed Martin's PrSM prototype in December 2019. (US Army )

A senior US Army official has said it is unclear how far the service's new Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) prototype flew during a ‘max-range' test shot in October because the service stopped receiving telemetry data at the 499.2 km point.

Unlike previous PrSM tests, the army declined to answer questions about its 13 October test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where it was slated to see just how far the baseline missile could fly. Head of Army Futures Command General Mike Murray told reporters on 9 November that the army still does not know how far the weapon travelled that day because it “lost” telemetry at about 499.2 km.

“We're confident we can get past 499 km, and probably further had we not lost telemetry,” Gen Murray explained during a Project Convergence 2021 capstone event.

The PrSM is set to replace Lockheed Martin's MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) but the army has not disclosed what the baseline missile's range will be when it is fielded in 2023. However, its goal is to initially field a weapon that can exceed 500 km, and work on future iterations that can push that envelope out even further. It is also adding a multimode seeker to the PrSM so that it can strike maritime targets.

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