Lockheed Martin successfully tested 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.
During the flight test, the PrSM was fired from Lockheed Martin’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher and flew approximately 240 kilometers to the target area. According to a company statement, all test objectives were achieved.
“Today’s success validates all of the hard work our PrSM team has put into the design and development of this missile,” said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin. “This test flight is the most recent success in a long line of product component and sub-component testing successes conducted as part of our proven development discipline to assure total mission success for our U.S. Army customer.”
Test objectives included confirming the missile’s flight trajectory performance, range and accuracy from launch to warhead event, validating all interfaces with the HIMARS launcher, as well as testing system software performance.
“We are building reliability into our PrSM at every level,” said Campbell. “We are confident that our years of demonstrated experience in delivering unmatched Precision Fires capabilities for our U.S. Army customer and our commitment to ensuring affordability will result in the best PrSM option.”
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. The selected weapon is expected to achieve Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2023.
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.
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.