The U.S. Army’s Aviation and Missile Center has selected Lockheed Martin as one of the contractors to work on the Long Range Maneuverable Fires (LRMF) missile programme, along with a team from Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman.
The U.S. Army is looking for a new missile system that can strike targets at distances beyond the current capabilities of its existing launchers. The (LRMF) missile is a program that aims to develop an advanced propulsion solution that can significantly extend the range of the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), which is expected to replace the aging Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).
The LRMF program is divided into three phases, with the first phase focusing on design and risk-reduction activities, followed by optional phases leading to flight test demonstration and transition to the PrSM Inc. 4 development. The LRMF missile will be able to launch from existing Army launchers, such as the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), and defeat distant threats in contested environments.
Lockheed Martin’s LRMF missile features an innovative design that leverages key technologies to address size and endurance challenges, while retaining the ability to fit within the existing launcher volume constraints. The company claims that its solution will give soldiers a decisive edge on the battlefield by extending their reach and enhancing their survivability and lethality.
The LRMF program is part of the U.S. Army’s Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) modernization priority, which seeks to provide overmatch capabilities against near-peer adversaries in multi-domain operations. The LRPF portfolio also includes other programs, such as the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA), the Mid-Range Capability (MRC), and the Strategic Long Range Cannon (SLRC).
The LRMF program is expected to inform the design of the PrSM Inc. 4, which will be the final increment of the PrSM development. The PrSM Inc. 1, which is currently undergoing testing, will have a range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles), while the PrSM Inc. 2 and 3 will have increased range and capabilities, such as a seeker and a two-way data link. The PrSM Inc. 4 will have a range of more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), making it a strategic asset for long-range fires.
The LRMF program is an example of how the U.S. Army is investing in cutting-edge technologies to maintain its competitive edge in future conflicts. The LRMF missile will provide a flexible and responsive option for long-range precision fires that can adapt to different scenarios and threats.
Lockheed Martin has a long history of developing and integrating advanced propulsion systems for precision fires, such as the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor.
Precision Strike Missile (PrSM)
The Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) is a next-generation, low-risk, long-range surface-to-surface missile that can attack, neutralize, suppress and destroy targets using missile-delivered indirect fires. The PrSM is designed to replace the aging ATACMS missile, which has a limited range and loadout.
The PrSM is being developed and manufactured primarily by Lockheed Martin, with Australia joining as a partner in 2021. The PrSM will use advanced propulsion to fly faster and farther than the ATACMS, reaching ranges of over 500 kilometers and potentially up to 1,000 kilometers with future upgrades. The PrSM will also be thinner and sleeker than the ATACMS, allowing two missiles to fit in each launch pod, doubling the number of missiles carried by M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS launchers.
The PrSM will have an open systems architecture for maximum affordability and flexibility, and a modular design for future growth and adaptability. The PrSM will feature an insensitive munition (IM) propulsion system and IM energetic payload capable of defeating a variety of targets. The PrSM will also have a multi-mode seeker that will enable it to track moving targets on land and sea, as well as stationary targets.
The PrSM is expected to achieve initial operational capability in 2023, with a major program improvement planned for 2025. The PrSM will provide the US Army and its allies with a game-changing capability to deliver long-range precision fires in support of multi-domain operations. The PrSM will enhance the Joint Force Commander’s ability to shape the battlefield and achieve decisive effects across multiple domains.