Take Another Shot

Lockheed Martin successfully launched a Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from a Navy MK 41 vertical-launch system in September, the company revealed Wednesday. The shot takes the weapon—derived from the Air Force’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM—another step closer to meeting Navy/DARPA requirements for a long-range air- or ship-launched stealth missile capable of surviving in “denied” battlespace. “We feel like a big box has been checked off” on the way to operational service, company tactical missiles Vice President Frank St. John said at a press briefing in Crystal City, Va. Two more vertical shots have yet to be made; both will fly from a “Desert Ship” at the White Sands, N.M., missile proving grounds later this year. The LRASM has already been air-launched twice from an Air Force B-1B bomber. Along with the B-1B, the B-52, P-8, F/A-18, and F-35 are to be able to launch the weapon. St. John said if the Navy decides to buy the missile in projected quantities, “we think $300 million savings could accrue to the Air Force based on quantity and rate,” because the weapons are about 85 percent “parts-common,” St. John said. Operational capability for the B-1B could come as early as 2018, he said. The company is expanding its Troy, Ala., plant to accommodate potential LRASM sales and foreign sales of the JASSM and JASSM-Extended Range.