The US Navy just increased its fire power with the brand new Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). Developed by world renowned defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the LRASM is specifically engineered to locate and engage long range enemy targets. Tipping the scales at 2,500 pounds measuring 168 inches long, the LRASM will utilize next generation tracking software to seek out and eliminate a wide variety of enemy vehicles including drones, submarines, aircraft and land targets.
The LRASM is currently progressing through development testing, and the US Navy hopes that it will be fully operational by 2019. Once the LRASM program is complete, the NAVY intends to use them as a first response to important enemy targets.Navy officials expanded upon this idea stating
"The objective is to give Sailors the ability to strike high-value targets from longer ranges while avoiding counter fire. The program will use autonomous guidance to find targets, reducing reliance on networking, GPS and other assets that could be compromised by enemy electronic weapons.”
Although the NAVY will primarily launch LRASM from F-18s and B-1B bombers, they will also conduct test launches from ships using the Vertical Launch System. The NAVY has yet to officially decide which missile to support for their ship to ship application, but if the LRASM can successfully complete its tests then it certainly has a strong case to be selected.
In its current form, LRASM utilizes a digital global positioning system as well as a multimode sensor to seek and destroy individual targets even within a group of other ships. The LRASM program goes hand-in-hand with the NAVY’s current goal of arming the entire fleet with precision longer-range capabilities. Look for Lockheed to collaborate with the NAVY on even more exciting defense projects in the years to come.