Lockheed Martin announced on October 14 that the Precision Strike Missile it is developing for the United States Army broke its flight distance record, during a flight test held at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, on October 13.
While the company did not disclose the distance travelled by the missile following its launch from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), it said that the missile exceeded the test’s “maximum threshold” during its flight over the Pacific Ocean. According to Lockheed Martin, the test is the fifth consecutive successful flight test for the PrSM.
“The Precision Strike Missile continues to validate range and performance requirements,” said Paula Hartley, vice president of Tactical Missiles at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Achieving this long-range milestone for the baseline missile demonstrates PrSM’s capability to meet our customer’s modernization priorities on a rapid timeline.”
The flight is the second of three demonstrations taking place this year as part of the Enhanced Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (ETMRR) phase of the PrSM program, with the third test to be held as part of the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence 21, featuring a “side by side” launch of two missiles from the same launcher. Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, head of the Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) Cross Functional Team, told Defense News in September that the October 13 test was originally intended to take place in August, but had to take place in October due to range scheduling issues. He added that the PrSM was expected to exceed a range of 499 kilometers during the test, in line with development goals following the United States’ 2019 withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which previously prohibited the development of missiles with ranges between 499 and 5,000 kilometers.
The test follows the Army’s September 30 award of a $62 million contract for the missile’s engineering and manufacturing development phase to Lockheed Martin, with initial PrSM fielding targeted for fiscal 2023. Lockheed Martin adds that the test PrSM used was manufactured at its new Long Range Precision Fires facility in Camden, Arkansas, where all Lockheed Martin missile and pod integration efforts will be conducted going forwards.