Home » Aviation » LRASM Set for More Air, Surface Tests This Year


LRASM Set for More Air, Surface Tests This Year

A F/A-18E flying with a black LRASM missile. Lockheed Martin Photo

A F/A-18E flying with a black LRASM missile. Lockheed Martin Photo

Operating under a $321 million contract from Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Lockheed Martin is set to complete the critical design review (CDR) for the company’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) next month, company officials told USNI News on Tuesday.

Completion of the CDR will kick off a round of testing for the use of the missile on the Boeing B-1B Lancer supersonic bomber and Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter with a goal of an early operational capability on the Lancers by the end of 2018 and the Super Hornets in 2019, Mike Fleming, Lockheed’s LRASM air launch program director said.

“They’re calling it the integration and test phase, that goes through now through fielding and encompasses the rest of the test program for both of the platforms to get it fielded,” Fleming said.

A LRASM missile in a hangar with a F/A-18E Super Hornet. Lockheed Martin Photo

A LRASM missile in a hangar with a F/A-18E Super Hornet. Lockheed Martin Photo

The missile – based on the company’s long-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) – is part of an urgent operational need first laid out by U.S. Pacific Command for a new air-launched anti-ship missile in 2009.

“I need weapons systems of increased lethality that go faster, go further, and are more survivable,” PACOM commander Adm. Harry Harris told the Senate in February.
The “subsonic ship-to-ship munition, the Harpoon, is essentially the same missile we had in 1978, when I was a newly commissioned ensign.”

The need from PACOM began with two contracts with DARPA and the Office of Naval Research that successfully proved the LRASM could be launched at a moving maritime target from a B-1 bomber.

The LRASM program – also known as the Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) Increment I – is the first of several new or modified weapon the Pentagon is working on to help bridge a decades-old gap in anti-surface weapons development that stalled during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, several much more modern Russian and Chinese anti-surface weapons have emerged.

An artist's concept of a Lockheed Martin LRASM fired from a U.S. Navy VLS tube. Lockheed Martin image.

An artist’s concept of a Lockheed Martin LRASM fired from a U.S. Navy VLS tube. Lockheed Martin image.

Other anti-surface weapons that are in the works are an anti-surface variant of the Raytheon Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) set to field on ships and submarines in 2021 and an anti-surface variant of the Raytheon Standard Missile-6 (SM-6).

Additionally, Lockheed Martin intends to conduct a vertical launch test of a LRASM from a Navy guided-missile destroyer sometime later this year, company officials told USNI News.

Like What You've Been Reading? Get Proceedings Today
Categories: Aviation, Budget Industry, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.