U.S. Army to Test New Precision Strike Missile This Month

The U.S. Army is scheduled to test a new Precision Strike Missile, or PrSM, this month, which will leverage current launchers and be capable of achieving greater ranges than current technology, the service announced.

The 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 companies will test-fire their submissions later this year, with the selected weapon planned to achieve Initial Operational Capability in 2023.

Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile PrSM Concept
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-plus 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 in full, limited or expeditionary operations.

PrSM 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. Primary emphasis for follow-on spirals will be on 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.

In addition to the PrSM, the Army recently demonstrated the new XM1113 and Excalibur M982 munitions, discharged from a prototype Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) self-propelled howitzer.

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