Lockheed Martin Just Completed A Short-Range Test Of A Long-Range Missile

Lockheed Martin has achieved a paradoxical success by conducting a short-range qualification flight test of its long-range Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The PrSM, part of Lockheed’s Extended-Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (ER GMLRS) family, set a record range of 150 km in September 2023, with an eventual operational capability of reaching 400 km.

The seemingly counterintuitive short-range test is crucial from an engineering standpoint. Short-range testing evaluates the missile’s strength and reliability under conditions where it might need to engage nearby targets. In such scenarios, the missile is still in its acceleration phase, providing only a fraction of the time it would normally have to lock onto and guide itself to the target.

The successful test, the shortest distance flown to date, confirms the PrSM’s accuracy from launch to impact. Operating at hypersonic speeds in a short-range environment is particularly stressful and dynamic for the missile, testing its structural integrity and trajectory control.

Jay Price, vice president of Precision Fires at Lockheed Martin, emphasized that this demonstration marks the first of several production qualification tests, bringing the PrSM closer to fielding and the delivery of Early Operational Capability (EOC) missiles later in the year. The PrSM is a critical capability and a top priority for the US Army’s long-range precision fires modernization.

“This demonstration is the first of several production qualification tests moving PrSM closer to fielding and delivery of Early Operational Capability (EOC) missiles this year,” he said. “PrSM is a critical capability and the top long-range precision fires modernization priority for the US Army.”

Lockheed Martin’s partnership with the US Army in developing the PrSM is expected to secure a significant market share in North America’s missiles and missile defense systems, with forecasted revenue of $41.5 billion over the 2023–2033 period. The PrSM, capable of neutralizing targets beyond 400 km, represents the US Army’s next-generation long-range precision strike missile, featuring an open systems architecture design and compatibility with HIMARS and M270.

Australia’s collaboration on the PrSM development aligns with its goal of establishing long-range strike capabilities for safeguarding sovereign interests and regional security amid rising tensions with China. The successful test sets the stage for the PrSM’s deployment later this year, advancing its role as a critical asset for the US Army.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *