First Free Flight of Anti-Ship Cruise Missile

A B-1 bomber from Dyess AFB, Tex., released a Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile prototype off the coast of southern California, announced DARPA. The Aug. 27 test was the first free flight of the LRASM design, according to the agency’s Sept. 6 release. “This fully functional test is a significant step in providing the US Navy and US Air Force with a next-generation anti-ship missile capability,” said Arthur Mabbett, DARPA program manager. The agency said it designed the “free-flight transition test” to verify the missile’s flight characteristics and assess subsystem and sensor performance. The missile also detected, engaged, and hit an unmanned 260-foot mobile ship target with an inert warhead during the test, states the release. Mabbett said LRASM’s performance “substantially exceeds our current capabilities.” DARPA and the Office of Naval Research are sponsoring development of LRASM, a derivative of Lockheed Martin’s extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile variant.