EGLIN AFB and FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. — is revealing a few more details about the mysterious Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (Lrasm), a project led by the (Darpa) to develop two concepts for defeating heavily defended surface targets at long ranges.
Lockheed Martin won both development projects from Darpa in July 2009 over nine competing proposals from rivals including, and Alliant Techsystems.
Both are expected to fly in 2013, says Lewis “Chuck” Morant, who leads tactical missile business development for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. And the Air Force has set aside some money beginning in 2013 to potentially start work on what it calls the Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) version of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (), if this concept shows promise.
The two concepts are Lrasm-A, a concept based on the extended-range Jassm-ER cruise missile, and Lrasm-B, which builds off of experience with the high-speed Revolutionary Approach to Time Critical Long-Range Strike (Rattlrs) program to develop a ballistic option.
Lockheed’s approach on Lrasm is to encourage the Pentagon to evolve Jassm and build off of the development funding that has gone into integrating the systems onto that stealthy missile, Morant says. Substantial funding has been dedicated for Jassm after years of technical issues and reliability problems.
Col. Stephen Demers, Jassm program manger at Eglin AFB’s Air Armament Center, says Lockheed Martin has improved its manufacturing process and missile reliability. The ASuW program would likely have moved forward before now were it not for a major cost overrun in the program in recent years. The Air Force refocused on shoring up the baseline Jassm design rather than initiating the ASuW variant.
Demers says that Lrasm-A would be both air- and tube-launched, which would allow the military to field it in ships and on aircraft.
The goal, he says, is to make Jassm-ER more autonomous. This is accomplished by adding to the Jassm-ER’s imaging infrared sensor and improving target recognition algorithms, Morant says. He declined to provide details on the sensor owing to security concerns. Darpa is contracting withto provide a common sensor system for both versions.
Thus far, Jassm-ER has executed 10 successful flight tests out of 11 attempts, Demers says.
Pentagon acquisition officials approved the program for entry into low-rate initial production, beginning with 30 missiles, and the Air Force is waiting for guidance from Congress on purchasing Jassm Lot 9, which would include these Jassm-ERs as well as a number of baseline designs.
The failure of Congress to provide new appropriations for fiscal 2011 has prevented Demers from moving forward with procurement.