US Navy carries out third LRASM Missile test

The U.S. Navy has recently carried out a successful controlled flight test of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) surface-launch variant from the Self Defense Test Ship at Pt. Mugu Sea Range, California.

According to Lockheed Martin, the company responsible for integration and testing, the test proved the missile’s ability to load mission data using the modified tactical tomahawk weapon control system (TTWCS+) and align mission data with the moving ship and launch from the MK 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS).

During the test, LRASM exited the VLS launcher, cleanly separated from its Mk-114 booster and transitioned to the cruise phase. The missile successfully flew a pre-planned low-altitude profile collecting aerodynamics agility data while enroute to its pre-determined endpoint.

Earlier this year, in May 2016, the U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $321.8 million sole-source contract to continue the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) integration and test phase.

Lockheed Martin said the company invested internal funds to support this test and provide an operational LRASM and to refurbish the Navy’s Self Defense Test Ship MK 41 VLS. This demonstration from a moving ship in a dynamic at-sea environment was a critical step in proving the maturity of the surface-launch variant.

LRASM was also tested successfully from a ground-based MK 41 VLS “Desert Ship” in 2013 and 2014. Integrating LRASM with the VLS will provide every Aegis destroyer and cruiser with a long-range, survivable anti-surface warfare distributed lethality capability.

Scott Callaway, LRASM Surface-Launch director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said: “This successful flight test demonstrates Lockheed Martin’s readiness to answer the U.S. Navy’s need for new anti-surface warfare capabilities as part of the ‘distributed lethality’ concept,” said . “This LRASM flight test from a U.S. Navy surface ship VLS highlights the successful collaboration between Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy.”

The anti-ship missile is expected to become operational with the U.S. Air Force and Navy in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

LRASM is a precision-guided anti-ship standoff missile designed for an advanced anti-access/area-denial threat environment.

Armed with a 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.

The surface-launch LRASM variant was built on the same production line as JASSM, JASSM-ER and LRASM air-launch weapons, and delivers the same long-range, precision capability. With maturity of the MK 41 VLS integration demonstrated, Lockheed Martin will continue testing on other surface ship applications, including topside, deck-mounted launchers.