The US Navy’s 155mm long-range, land-attack projectile (LRLAP) has successfully completed guided-flight tests at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Captain Timothy Batzler, US Navy surface ship weapons major programme manager, said: "This test marks a significant progress in development of the tactical LRLAP hardware, including a first-time demonstration of LRLAP’s point detonation warhead fusing mode, one of the last remaining capabilities to be proven in a flight test environment.

"We also successfully demonstrated our tactical solution to propulsion challenges that have been a key programme focus for the last few years. These are important steps in maturation of the LRLAP design as we approach shipboard testing in FY (fiscal year) 15."

“These LRLAP tests are instrumental in demonstrating the robust land-attack capability on DDG 1000 destroyers.”

During the latest round of four flight tests, the rocket-assisted guided projectile reached its designated impact point accurately, while also meeting objectives such as successful gun launch, rocket motor ignition and operation, GPS acquisition, and terminal guidance.

Launched using a unique propelling charge, the weapon features a GPS-based guidance system and a unitary warhead with an adjustable height-of-burst or point-detonation fuze.

Captain James Downey, Program Executive Officer Ships DDG 1000 programme manager, said: "These LRLAP tests are instrumental in demonstrating the robust land-attack capability on DDG 1000 destroyers.

Designed to support land-attack operations, each of the DDG 1000’s two advanced gun systems (AGS) will be capable of firing more than ten LRLAP rounds in a minute.

Before proceeding to initial production and ship integration in 2014, a further series of LRLAP guided flight tests will be conducted in the next 14 months.

After demonstrating LRLAP’s performance and reliability in various conditions, the projectile is expected to achieve initial operational capability in 2016.