Anti-Ship JASSM Test

DARPA intends to test an anti-ship version of Lockheed Martin’s JASSM cruise missile in July at Pt. Mugu, Calif., according to Frank St. John, vice president of the company’s Missiles and Fire Control business. The Long-Range Anti-Surface Missile, or LRASM, is externally “almost identical” to the company’s JASSM Extended Range variant, said St. John. It “gives up some range” to accommodate “added sensor capability,” he said, but retains the same warhead. The missile is designed to fly to a pre-set area and then look for its specific target autonomously. The project is on an “accelerated development pace,” said St. John; DARPA is taking advantage of the extensive flight testing already done on the JASSM and “the maturity of the baseline system.” If successful, the Air Force and Navy could add LRASM to their inventories. Australia and Finland are possible foreign users, said St. John, since they are also buying JASSM. DARPA is pursuing the project to fulfill a near-term need for a stealthy, long-range standoff missile useful against fixed or naval targets. The Navy launched the Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare project in 2010, and is seeking a missile that can operate with or without the help of satellite guidance.