Lockheed Martin Conducts Second Flight Test of its Precision Strike Missile (PrSM)

Lockheed Martin conducted the second flight of its next-generation long-range missile designed for the U.S. Army’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) program at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The missile was fired from Lockheed Martin’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher and flew a nominal trajectory approximately 180 kilometers to the target area, culminating in a highly accurate and lethal warhead event.

According to a company statement, all test objectives were achieved. Test objectives included confirming the missile’s flight trajectory, range and accuracy from launch to warhead event, as well as warhead lethality, HIMARS launcher integration and overall missile performance.

“Today’s flight test further demonstrated the reliability, precision and critical capabilities Lockheed Martin is building into the PrSM,” said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The missile performed exactly as expected and successfully engaged the target with pinpoint accuracy.”

“This second consecutive successful flight test of Lockheed Martin’s PrSM validates our missile technology and confidence that Lockheed Martin is uniquely positioned to deliver this important, cost-effective capability to meet our U.S. Army customer’s priorities,” Campbell said.

During the maiden flight test on Dec. 10 last year, the PrSM missile was fired from HIMARS launcher and flew approximately 240 kilometers to the target area. According to a company statement released at the time, all test objectives were achieved.

Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile (PrSM)
A Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) lifts off after being launched from a HIMAR launcher at White Sands Missile Range on Dec. 10, 2019, during its inaugural flight. Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin.

U.S. Army’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) Program

The Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) will be an all-weather, precision-strike guided surface-to-surface missile (SSM) fired from an M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) or an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are competing with each other for the PrSM program. Raytheon is yet to test its offering for the PrSM program, name DeepStrike.

The selected weapon is expected to achieve Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2023.

Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile (PrSM)
Rendering of a Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) concept being launched from an M142 HIMARS vehicle. Lockheed Martin Photo.
Raytheon DeepStrike Missile
Rendering of a Raytheon DeepStrike missile being launched from an M142 HIMARS vehicle. The long-range DeepStrike missile was developed to meet the U.S. Army’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) requirement. Raytheon Photo.

The missile will destroy/neutralize/suppress targets at ranges from 70-400+ km using missile-delivered indirect precision fires. It provides field artillery units with long-range and deep strike capability while supporting brigade, division, corps, Army, theater, joint/coalition forces and Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTFs) in full, limited or expeditionary operations.

The PrSM missile will replace the existing aged inventory of non-Insensitive Munitions and Cluster Munition policy-compliant Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), which are fired from the same M270A1 MLRS and M142 HIMARS launchers, and doubles rate-of-fire with two missiles per launch pod.

MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS)
MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS)

The baseline missile, which will be developed and fielded to engage a wide variety of targets at ranges up to 499 km, will emphasize imprecisely located area and point targets. The primary emphasis for follow-on spirals will be on the increased range, lethality and engagement of time-sensitive, moving, hardened and fleeting targets.

The Army is now also able to extend the range requirement for PrSM beyond 499km as the United States formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in August.

The agreement, signed in December 1987 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, limited both nations from fielding both short-range (500–1,000 km) and intermediate-range (1,000–5,500 km) land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and missile launchers that could be used to house either nuclear or conventional payloads. The treaty did not apply to air- or sea-launched missiles.

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