Lockheed Martin’s bid to create a new ship-to-ship missile had successful flight test, according to a statement from the company.
Launched from a U.S. Air Force B1-B Lancer bomber, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) navigated a series of waypoints, operated in an autonomous guidance mode and impacted on a sea-based target at the Navy’s Sea Range at Point Mugu, Calif. on Aug. 27.
The flight is the first of three planned tests for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to create a new anti-ship missile to potentially replace the legacy Harpoon system.
The air launched LRASM is built on the AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile – Extended Range and is, “armed with a proven 1,000-pound penetrator and blast-fragmentation warhead, 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,” according to information from Lockheed Martin.
Ultimately the testing effort could transition into to a full-on production of a new anti-ship missile. DAPRA is also researching a ship-launched variant of LRASM with a plan for two tests at the end of 2014.
Lockheed plans to launch a test missile from a MK-41 vertical launch system (VLS) in company funded test in June.
The Navy’s ship-to-ship missile capability has waned since the end of the Cold War. U.S. Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyers are currently not armed with Harpoon missiles and rely on a secondary function on of Raytheon’s Standard Missile which has limited range in an anti-ship role.