For the first time, Lockheed Martin has successfully launched the US Navy’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) surface-launch variant from a newly designed topside canister.
The flight test was conducted at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US, to validate the missile's ability to conduct an angled launch from a topside canister.
During the test, the LRASM, its Mk-114 booster and booster adapter used the same launch control and launch sequencer software currently employed by the Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS).
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Subsonic Cruise Missile director Scott Callaway said: "This successful flight test demonstrates Lockheed Martin's readiness to answer the US Navy's call for lethal, longer range anti-surface warfare capabilities as part of the 'Distributed Lethality' concept.
"This test also validates the flexibility and versatility of LRASM, as it proved it can be successfully fired from VLS and non-VLS surface platforms."
The topside canister with an angled launcher allows the LRASM surface-launch variant to be employed aboard various platforms in the Navy's surface fleet, according to Lockheed.
The surface-launch variant of the precision-guided anti-ship missile is manufactured on the same production line as JASSM, JASSM-ER, and LRASM air-launch weapons.
The LRASM’s air-launched variant provides an early operational capability for the Navy's offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I required to be integrated onto the US Air Force's (USAF) B-1B next year and on the U.S. Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in 2019.
Lockheed has recently secured a $86.5m contract to deliver 23 launched variants of the LRASM to the USAF and the US Navy.