Home » Aviation » LRASM Succeeds in At Sea B-1B Bomber Tactical Launch Test


LRASM Succeeds in At Sea B-1B Bomber Tactical Launch Test

Aug. 17, 2017 LRASM launch from a US Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber. Lockheed Martin Photo

The Navy’s next-generation anti-ship missile scored in its first tactical configuration test launching from a B-1B Lancer bomber, Lockheed Martin announced on Friday.

The West Coast test had the Lancer launch a Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) to hit a moving maritime target operating in the Sea Range off of Point Mugu, Calif.

“The missile navigated through all planned waypoints, transitioned to mid-course guidance and flew toward the moving maritime target using inputs from the onboard multimodal sensor,” read a release from the company.
“The missile then descended to low altitude for final approach to target area, positively identified and impacted the target.”

The test comes ahead of an initial operating capability for the missile from the Air Force bombers planed for next year and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in 2019.

“This was the first flight of a production representative, tactical configuration LRASM,” said Mike Fleming, LRASM director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in the Friday statement. “The successful flight continues to prove LRASMs ability to find and prosecute targets at sea.”

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

LRASM, based on Lockheed’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER), began as a DARPA program at the 2009 request of U.S. Pacific Command to rapidly field a modern air-launched, anti-ship weapon. The Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) Increment I is set to be followed by an Increment II for surface ships and air platforms.

Lockheed has been pushing LRASM as an option spending internal research and development dollars for a July test that launched an LRASM from a Mk-41 vertical launch cell at sea.

“Increment two was supposed to be a competition for both air and surface platforms. So we’ve been investing to reduce the risk of our surface-launched variant to compete for increment two,” Scott Callaway — LRASM Surface-Launch director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control — told USNI News in July.
Lockheed is also, “working on maturing a deck-mounted launcher concept that would enable LRASMs to be integrated into those non-VLS platforms and that’s kind of what’s next for us – maturing that launcher and demonstrating that next year.”

While OASuW II is still an option for the weapon, Lockheed announced it would not compete LRASM for the planned over-the-horizon missile contest for the Littoral Combat Ship and the Frigate.

 

  • Duane

    This is a pretty exciting new long range ASM. Being able to be air launched as well as sea launched, it has effectively unlimited range (1,000 nm plus the aircraft range, which is unlimited with aerial refueling).

    But a small handful of internet knowitalls who post here seem to latch onto the fact that LM did not compete in this summers Navy RFP for OTH missiles for the LCS to ridiculously argue that that means that LRASM is not ever going to be deployed on the LCS. As this piece, and several others posted in the media the last few weeks clearly state:

    1) LRASM is still in development, meaning, it’s not yet deployed on any platform, air or sea, as of today.

    2) LRASM has now been qualified in fires from a land based VLS, a land based angled canister deck launcher (this is for the LCS as well as other ships without VLS, including amphibs and potentially auxiliaries), and air dropped from the Super Hornet and now,as reported here,from a B-1B.

    3) The next step is to test the angled canister deck launcher on a LCS, which as stated here in this post is anticipated next year. When that at sea, end-to-end test on the LCS is completed successfully, then the LRASM will become available for purchase and deployment on LCS. Similarly, LRASM will be tested in at sea fires from VLS equipped warships in the near future.

    The LRASM canister launcher is necessarily larger and stouter than the canister launchers used to fire Harpoons and NSMs last year on both classes of LCS. LRASM is about, or more than, twice as heavy as the Harpoon and NSM.

    As in all new weapons development processes,it’s done stepwise with the LRASM in adapting it to the wide array of platforms it is intended to be deployed from. Yet to come also are test firings from F-35A and F-35C aircraft, both of which are physically able to accommodate LRASM internally as a 2,000 pound class munition. The B model could also fire LRASM from an external pylon as used in the Super Hornet (the internal bay on the B model is limited to 1,000 pound class munitions).

    LRASM will be qualified on LCS next year, and within a year thereafter there will be a purchase of at least some of them for LCS and for other platforms.

    • DaSaint

      Duane, I may have missed it, but where in this article does it say ‘The next step is to test the angled canister deck launcher on a LCS, which…is anticipated next year?’

      This part must be your opinion: When that at sea, end-to-end test on the LCS is completed successfully, then the LRASM will become available for purchase and deployment on LCS.

      While I’m all for the LCS having 4 or preferably 8 long-range SSMs, because of their relatively lightweight structures, it appears that the LRASM may be too heavy. Again, I can’t say this for certain, but my sense was that the Navy is looking for an off-the-shelf solution that can easily be accommodated on the LCS. I would have thought that would have been an upgraded Harpoon, but it seems that even that may be too heavy or cause too much deflection upon launch, though its been mounted on much smaller fast attack craft in the past. Doesn’t make sense to me. Anyway, the Navy seems enamored with the NSM, which from all accounts is very advanced for its weight and punch, so that appears to be the last missile standing.

      Maybe LRASM will find a home on the FFG, DDGs, and CGs in the future, but it doesn’t appear that the LCS is being lined up as a candidate.

      • Duane

        The Navy has specifically set up LRASM for LCS .. the Navy, along with LM, designed and fabricated a larger angled canister deck launcher for LRASM, and successfully test fired t at White Sands last month. Yes, it IS going on LCS. It’s part of the Navy’s overall “distributed lethality” strategy.

        from the article:

        “Increment two was supposed to be a competition for both air and surface platforms. So we’ve been investing to reduce the risk of our surface-launched variant to compete for increment two,” Scott Callaway — LRASM Surface-Launch director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control — told USNI News in July. Lockheed is also, “working on maturing a deck-mounted launcher concept that would enable LRASMs to be integrated into those non-VLS platforms and that’s kind of what’s next for us – maturing that launcher and demonstrating that next year.”

        They’ve already successfully tested the LRASM deck launcher on the ground at White Sands a few weeks ago. So the next step in “maturing that launcher and demonstrating that next year” is a sea based test from an LCS. Just as the Navy did in sea tests of the Harpoon Block 2 and NSM on two different LCS hulls last year. However, that canister launcher was not sized to take the LRASM which is about twice the size of the two mid-sized ASMs.

        • DaSaint

          Of course, non-VLS capable shops could only mean LCS. SMH. That’s what happens when you post in the middle of the night. Thanks for the explanation.

          I’d like to see a couple ASM systems on the LCS and FFG. maybe 4 Harpoons or NSM, and 4 LRASM, to cover a wide range of targets.

          • Duane

            Well, the only ship sized surface combatants we have today without VLS are the LCS and the amphibs, along with CVNs that are already protected by CGs and DDGs and their VLS. The Navy has been busy testing and integrating ASMs on the LCS since at least 2014 when the first at sea test of an NSM occurred on an Independence class LCS. It’s nothing “new”, and it’s all part of “distributed lethality” that the Navy has been implementing the last three plus years.

          • Phaeton

            “he Navy has been busy testing and integrating ASMs on the LCS since at least 2014 when the first at sea test of an NSM occurred on an Independence class LCS”
            Lie,of course.That wasn’t a test.That was,according to manufacturer,A DEMONSTRATION.
            First test missiles aren’t scheduled to arrive for about two more years.
            “This guy needs to be banned for his obvious trolling.”
            The only thing obvious here is your lies.

          • DaSaint

            It would be great if Distributed Lethality extended to amphibs as well, but the USN has never embraced the concept of ASMs on through-deck warships whether carriers or amphibs or other non-combatants. The Russians have, as did the Italians with the Garibaldi, if memory serves me correctly.

          • Phaeton

            “I’d like to see a couple ASM systems on the LCS and FFG. maybe 4 Harpoons or NSM, and 4 LRASM, to cover a wide range of targets.”
            According to relatively latest news,no LRASM or Harpoons.
            Yes,there specifically were complaints about different systems having more sense.These complaints were disregarded.Both LCS and FFG will be getting that NSM derivative.AND NOTHING ELSE.
            And then the entire production run is 320 missiles.And i’m pretty sure that the number includes test missiles.Might be wrong here though.
            While number isn’t especially low,or seems so,it’s to be split over forty ships.So,assuming quad-packed launchers,it’s exactly one single solitary reload.

          • DaSaint

            Yes, that was my wishful thinking. It’s my sense that the NSM is the preferred choice for LCS due to the fact that it is lightweight, advanced in terms of seeker technology vs Harpoon, and lightweight (yes, I know I said it already). I didn’t realize that a production contract was agreed to already. When was that awarded?

          • Phaeton

            “It’s my sense that the NSM is the preferred choice for LCS due to the fact that it is lightweight, advanced in terms of seeker technology vs Harpoon”
            It’s SO not.Harpoon is ARH.NSM is IR.
            “I didn’t realize that a production contract was agreed to already. ”
            Not yet,but NSM derivative is the only thing remaining in so-called OTHWS competition,so unless something happens,contract will be awarded in two months.If something happens,eight months.

        • Phaeton

          “Yes, it IS going on LCS. ”
          No,it is NOT going on LCS,because the proposal was withdrawn.

          • Yes it might sink a LCS
            No it might not sink a LCS
            Get a life Navy and do something.
            PLAN has just launched it’s 4th 10K destroyer. Might be as good as USN but it’s a hull and it can carry stuff. Where is Zumwault and all this rail gun maybe stuff.

          • Phaeton

            “Railguns maybe “were never relevant.Just a really elaborate plot to steal taxpayers money.

        • I guess then the LCS will not be that steathly

  • Bulldogdriver

    LRASM, maritime strike tomahawks, anti-ship SM-6 and LCS fitted with NSM. The US is going from having no credible anti-ship weapons to having the most lethal and longest ranged weapons in a amazingly short span of time. Sadly, the Royal Navy is going the exact opposite direction.

    • El Kabong

      Agreed.

      How the UK politicians of an island nation could scrap the maritime defences is astounding.

      Exocets, Harpoons, Sea Eagles, Nimrods…

  • Phaeton

    “After long and careful consideration, Lockheed Martin has decided to withdraw from the U.S. Navy Over-the-Horizon Weapon System (OTH-WS) competition.”
    “withdraw”
    “WITHDRAW”
    ” When LRASM is qualified on LCS, it will be offered by LM to the Navy”
    It won’t ever be accepted by the Navy,because there is one single competition for OTH missile for both FFG and LCS.And LM decided to
    “withdraw”
    Yeah,that.And it decided to do so because Navy doesn’t need networked,capable,long-range anti-ship missile for LCS and FFG.
    It needs literally one inferior to Harpoon.
    But cheap.

    • Duane

      Yes – they withdrew from the competition, but they did not submit a proposal, which is what I wrote.

      You’re playing semantics games. Boeing also withdrew from the competition without submitting a written proposal, for much the same reason – their existing Block 2 didn’t meet the requirements, and their Block 2 ER is, like LRASM, not yet ready for competition.

      • Phaeton

        “but they did not submit a proposal, which is what I wrote”
        If they didn’t,how they withdrew,again?
        “Boeing also withdrew from the competition without submitting a written proposal, for much the same reason”
        Yes.And the reason is,and i quote,
        “Both companies expressed concern that the Navy was giving little consideration to the networked capability of the weapons, USNI News understands”
        Little consideration is an overstatement here.To quote the documents,
        “No in-flight updates will be provided”.So,NO consideration.And without in-flight updates every ASM with flight time more than ten or so minutes,well,are not exactly useless,but close.
        Basically USN needs inexpensive junk for LCS.Just for checkbox”LCS can in theory participate in ship-to-ship combat”.
        Inexpensive to the point that original quad-packed Harpoon apparently is too pricy.

    • Duane

      FFG does not exist. It is only a planned ship type. And when it becomes an existing ship type it will feature a VLS of undetermined number of cells, not an angled canister deck launcher as used on LCS and will likely also be adapted to amphibs.

      LCS does exist, with 9 hulls to date, two a year coming off the ways. The RFP is to support a buy of OTH for existing hulls capable of being fired from an angled deck launcher.

      • Phaeton

        “FFG does not exist. It is only a planned ship type.”
        And still the only OTH missile system it will have is the one that wins this competition.Such are the terms.
        “And when it becomes an existing ship type it will feature a VLS of undetermined number of cells”
        No,it will feature at best twin four-canister launcher with missiles that win OTHWS competition .Which coincidentally includes very specific amount of,for example,FCS systems,among other things.
        Amount that coincidentally is exactly the same as planned FF+LCS number./facepalm/sarcasmoff IT’S NOT A COINCIDENCE.
        Complaints were made about that by the bidders.
        And promptly disregarded.
        “The RFP is to support a buy of OTH for existing hulls capable of being fired from an angled deck launcher.”
        Blatant lie,as can be confirmed by anyone BY READING THE (censored)DOCUMENTS!
        Creature,what’s point of lying about easily provable things?
        This is like stupidest thing possible.

        • Duane

          No – the FFG will be able to integrate and deploy virtually any missile capable of being fired from the VLS that the Navy designates for it to carry.
          That includes ASMs as well as anti-air/anti-missile missiles and land attack missiles. Depending upon the requirements that the Navy settles on, the FFG arsenal of missiles could include Tomahawk, SM-3, SM-6, NSM, Harpoon, LRASM, and anything else that will fit in whatever VLS the Navy selects for the as yet undefined FFG(X).

          • Phaeton

            “the VLS”
            It doesn’t include VLS.
            ” as yet undefined FFG(X)”
            Your brain is from undefined substance.FFG(X) RFI was issued last month and guess what it doesn’t include?
            “s could include Tomahawk, SM-3, SM-6, NSM, Harpoon, LRASM”
            Pretty much all of these.Because NSM will be horribly castrated to fit Navy’s idea of OTHWS.

  • Duane

    You wrote about DARPA. LRASM is part three of a three part weapons development program going back 20 years. It was the most rapidly developed of the three variants – 3 years so far, 4 to IOC next year.

  • So can this missile fit inside a B-2’s bomb bay?

    • Duane

      Yes – the B-2 is qualified to carry JASSM-ER, which is the land attack variant. It can be anticipated that the AF will eventually qualify LRASM on the B-2 also. Theoretically, the 40,000 pound munitions capacity of the B-2 could enable a single aircraft to wipe out a squadron of warships.

      • FromTheMirror

        Yep, and you can bet the AF will eventually play this card against the Navy’s expensive destroyers.

        • Duane

          Our DDGs do far more than sink enemy ships. No worries about the AF taking over those roles. But as in all things military, having multi-layered defensive and offensive assets is always desired. Always avoid single point failures.

      • How many submarines can the B2 find and sink? A blimp would have a better chance at ASW than a B2

        • Duane

          Uhhh, LRASM is not ASW, it’s ASM for surface ships.

        • El Kabong

          LOL!

          Where was anti-submarine warfare mentioned?

      • Ken N

        I’m pretty sure the B-1 is the only aircraft certified to carry the JASSM-ER.

        • Duane

          B-2s have been qualified on JASSM since 2011, presumably JASSM-ER is also qualified. The ER version is simply an upgrade to JASSM – same weight and physical dimensions, as is LRASM. F-16s and F/A 18 Super Hornets are both qualified on JASSM and its new variant, JASSM-ER. The F-35 A and C models will both be qualified on JASSM-ER under Block 4.

          • Ken N

            Yes..I know B-2’s and other aircraft can carry JASSM’s. B-2’s, B-52’s and other aircraft will also carry the -ER version but as far as I can tell -ER’s haven’t been fully integrated on any other aircraft other then the B-1. I could be wrong though..I just haven’t read anything other then the B-1 carrying the -ER.

          • Duane

            The fire control is virtually if not exactly the same on JASSM and JASSM-ER, and the ER missile is identical in form and weight to the older version.

          • Ken N

            “”The USAF says that AGM-158B JASSM-ER will eventually be integrated with as very similar plane set: B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Falcon (Block 25+), F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and F-35A-C Lightning II.

            Under current USAF plans, the B-1 Lancer will be the only plane certified with the new missile for the next few years.””

            Change out the 0 in com to go to the link.

            http://www.defenseindustrydaily.c0m/agm-158-jassm-lockheeds-family-of-stealthy-cruise-missiles-014343/

          • Duane

            Full qualification will require test firings, so perhaps it will take a few years to complete them on all the platforms currently qualified on JASSM, or will just go straight to JASSM-ER (i.e., the F-35).

          • Phaeton

            /facepalm
            Of course you can fit triple the range in the same physical package.Why wouldn’t you?
            PHYSICS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!

  • FelixA9

    Perhaps you should stop your whining and look at how long things have been taking (in the US anyway) the last 25 years. I’m not praising it by any means, things still take WAY too long to accomplish in the US, but it’s a start.

  • A question – home many ships in WW2 were sunk by B17’s? Again the USAF looking for a mission that should be best left to the professional ship sinkers. This is an attempt to add more justification for the “vaunted” B21 manned bomber. Drones, drones, and more drones but of course the defense contractors have their way they will be costly, costly, and costly. Drones have the range and endurance. They could be set-up as barrier patrols and they go in high and low and saturate the air space from a distance that would make the LRASM effective. MAybe even hyper-sonic ASM’s.

    • El Kabong

      How many anti-ship missiles were used in WW2?

      • FromTheMirror

        Good point. PB4Ys with BATs on the wings actually took out a good number.

        • El Kabong

          Those were guided bombs, not AshM’s…

      • Look it up. The German’s had a flying guided bomb. It was guided from a aircraft thru a TV in the nose of the bomb. If I remember it seriously damaged an USN cruiser and sunk a couple of cargo types.

        • El Kabong

          LMAO!!!

          You first.

          Try improving your reading comprehension.

          I asked how many anti-ship missiles were used in WW2?

          YOU reply with “flying guided bomb.”…

          Yeesh.

      • Murray

        While on route to Malta to surrender on September 9, 1943 the Italian battleships Italia and Roma were hit by 1400 kg German AP glider bombs. Roma was hit twice, the forward magazine detonated and the ship broke in two and sank. A single bomb hit Italia causing heavy damage to the hull forward of “A” turret.

        • El Kabong

          LOL!

          NOT an anti-ship missile…

          The Fritz-X was a radio command guided bomb and the Hs293 was a guided bomb with similar guidance and a rocket motor strapped under it.

          They were also used against bridges and static land targets.

          The Fritz X also saw combat over land in the attempted destruction of bridges over the Oder River in April 1945.

          Clearly, you missed the point, COMPLETELY.

  • El Kabong

    I have.

    Clearly, you don’t.

    Not with that moniker…