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Lockheed Martin and a team comprising Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman have been selected by the US Army’s Aviation and Missile Center to advance their respective designs for the Long Range Maneuverable Fires (LRMF) missile, the companies announced on 27 March 2023.

The missile is intended to become Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) Increment 4, significantly extending the range of the PrSM while still being launched from existing US Army launchers, such as the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

Phase 1 of the LRMF effort focuses on design and risk-reduction activities, with an optional follow-on phase leading to flight test demonstrations. Following flight tests, LRMF will transition to the US Army’s Strategic and Operational Rockets and Missiles (STORM) project office to inform the design of an extended-range PrSM Increment 4.

A CGI of Lockheed Martin’s LRMF solution. The LRMF missile is intended to significantly extend PrSM’s range while retaining the ability to launch from current US Army launchers. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin said of its LRMF plans, “To reach a significantly extended range with launcher volume constraints, Lockheed Martin’s solution will employ unique design elements and key technologies to address size and endurance challenges.”

Meanwhile, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman stated, “During this phase of the program, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman will partner to co-design, build and test the propulsion subsystem for DeepStrike-ER: an advanced missile solution that will demonstrate the capability to achieve the army’s desired range and effectiveness against next-generation threats.”

The LRMF programme is part of the US Army’s Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) modernisation priority, which seeks to overmatch near-peer adversaries in multi-domain operations. The LRPF portfolio also includes other programmes such as the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system, the Mid-Range Capability (MRC), and the Strategic Long Range Cannon (SLRC).

As stated by the US Army, the LRPF system “will replace the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) capability, which is impacted by the age of the ATACMS inventory and the cluster munition policy that removes all M39 and M39A1 ATACMS from the inventory after 2018”.

Peter Felstead