The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), together with the US Navy and Air Force, has successfully completed flight tests of the long-range anti-ship missile (LRASM).
As part of the test from the Sea Test Range in Point Mugu, California, US, the joint-service team, known as the LRASM deployment office (LDO), assessed the missile’s low-altitude performance and obstacle avoidance.
LDO navy programme manager captain Jaime Engdahl said: "We are very pleased with how LRASM performed today and we are looking forward to continuing integration efforts on the air force B-1, followed by our navy F/A-18, over the next few years.
"We have a clear mission to deliver game-changing capability to our warfighters in theatre as quickly as possible."
The missile had two successful flight tests in 2013, which transformed it from a DARPA technology demonstration programme to a formal US Navy programme of record in February 2014, with scheduled commissioning by 2018.
Aimed at reducing the reliance on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, as well as network links and GPS navigation in electronic warfare environments, LRASM will deliver advanced terminal survivability approaches and precision lethality.
Complying with navy and air force requirements, the precision-guided missile can be fired from B-1B or F / A-18E / F aircraft.
LDO director Artie Mabbett said: "We’ve shown that by taking advantage of the [US] Defense Department’s evolving acquisition policy, it is possible to significantly accelerate the fielding of a high-payoff technical system for the warfighter."
The new missile, which is being developed as an air-launched offensive anti-surface warfare weapon against escalating maritime threats in anti-access / area denial environments, will enable military forces to operate in open ocean / blue waters and littoral areas.
Image: A prototype LRASM being integrated onto a B-1B strategic bomber at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, US. Photo: courtesy of the US Air Force.