LRASM Anti-ship Missile Conducts Second Flight Test

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An artist impression depicting an LRASM missile on terminal attack, its seeker is verifying the target's silhouette and most vulnerable aimpoint for the final strike. Photo: Lockheed Marti
An artist impression depicting an LRASM missile on terminal attack, its seeker is verifying the target’s silhouette and most vulnerable aimpoint for the final strike. Photo: Lockheed Marti

Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) recently achieved another successful flight test, with the missile scoring a direct hit on a moving maritime target. The test was conducted in support of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) program.

LRASM is an autonomous, precision-guided anti-ship standoff missile leveraging the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) heritage, and is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters in a robust anti-access/area-denial threat environment. After a competition in 2009, Lockheed Martin’s LRASM was selected to demonstrate air- and surface-launched capability to defeat emerging sea-based threats at significant standoff ranges.

Armed with a proven 1,000-pound penetrator and blast-fragmentation warhead, LRASM employs a multi-mode sensor, weapon data link and an enhanced digital anti-jam global positioning system to detect and destroy specific targets within a group of ships.

Flying over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, Calif., a U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber from the 337th Test andEvaluation Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, released the LRASM, which navigated through all planned waypoints receiving in-flight targeting updates from the Weapon Data Link. After transitioning to autonomous guidance, LRASM identified the target using inputs from the onboard sensors. The missile then descended for final approach, verified and impacted the target.

“This test, combined with the success of the first flight test in August, further demonstrates the capabilities and maturity of LRASM,” said Mike Fleming, LRASM air launch program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The new sensors and legacy JASSM-ER components all performed well during the flight and the missile impacted the target as planned.”

The tactically-representative LRASM is built on the same award-winning production line in Pike County, Ala., as JASSM-ER, demonstrating manufacturing and technology readiness levels sufficient to enter the engineering, manufacturing and development phase to satisfy an urgent operational need.

JASSM-ER, which recently completed its operational test program, provides a significant number of parts and assembly-process synergies with LRASM, which results in cost savings for the U.S. Navy and Air Force(air- and surface-launched) Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare programs.

In September 2013 Lockheed martin also launched a LRASM representative Boosted Test Vehicle (BTV) from a MK 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) canister at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. This company-funded test evaluated the Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket (VL/ASROC) Mk-114 rocket motor, igniting, penetrating and exiting through the canister cover and performing a guided flight profile similar to a tactical configuration.

This flight test was part of an ongoing Lockheed Martin-funded Offensive Anti-Surface Weapon effort, independent of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) LRASM program. This test is focused on shipboard integration of LRASM’s surface launched variant.

Update: In July 2014 DARPA awarded Lockheed Martin a framework contract worth up to $200 million for the years 2014-2016, $33 million will be spent in 2014 on research, development, test and evaluation. The remaining funds will be allocated for continued work on the accelerated acquisition of the new missile.

LRASM missile launched from a B-1B on its first test flight in September 2013. Photo: DARPA
LRASM missile launched from a B-1B on its first test flight in September 2013. Photo: DARPA