The US Navy’s Lockheed Martin-built 155mm long-range, land-attack projectile (LRLAP) has successfully completed four engineering verification flight trials at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, US.
Conducted as part of the US Navy’s system design and development programme, the testing involved four rocket-assisted guided projectiles being launched and successfully destroying various hard and soft targets located 45nm away.
Engineers collected data and assessed warhead performance, which also provided the opportunity for the US Navy to develop new employment scenarios.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control LRLAP programme manager Richard Benton said the LRLAP would greatly enhance the US Navy’s ability to respond to fire support requests by deployed troops onshore.
"These tests bring us closer to completing the 35 tests required by the US Navy to demonstrate the maturity and performance of the system," Benton said.
Designed to provide precision offshore fire support from a safe standoff distance to US Marine Corps, army and coalition forces, the LRLAP supports expeditionary assaults or urban operations in coastal cities with minimal collateral damage.
Expected to achieve initial operational capability in 2016, the LRLAP will also be deployed onboard the US Navy’s DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class guided missile vessels.
Each of the DDG 1000’s two advanced gun systems (AGS) can fire more than ten LRLAP rounds in a minute to support land-attack operations, while providing three times more effective than traditional 5in naval ballistic rounds at a lower cost.
The accurate and longest-range system features a GPS-based guidance system and a unitary warhead with an adjustable height-of-burst or point-detonation fuse and will serve as an affordable, ship-launched alternative to currently used missiles for expeditionary forces.
Image: Illustration of US Navy’s long range land attack projectile. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.