On December 10th, Lockheed Martin announced that it had successfully tested its next-generation long-range missile designed the U.S. Army’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) program.
All test objectives were achieved at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
During the flight test the PrSM was fired from the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher and flew approximately 240 kilometers to the target area.
“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.”
The test’s objectives were: 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.”
Provided is a video of an older PrSM test, from October 2019.
The Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) program has been pursued by the U.S. Army since March 2017, proposing the creation of a new generation of high-precision tactical missiles with an official initially declared range of 60 to 499 km to replace the existing Lockheed Martin MGM-140 ATACMS family of American tactical missiles.
Like ATACMS, a PrSM missile should be launched from standard launchers of American missile systems M270A1 MLRS and M142 HIMARS, but, unlike ATACMS, four PrSM missiles (instead of two ATACMS) should be placed on the M270A1 MLRS launcher, and on the M142 HIMARS launcher – two PrSM missiles (instead of one ATACMS).
Although the maximum range of 499 km was initially officially announced for the PrSM rocket, in fact, the development was initially carried out taking into account the US expected withdrawal from the INF Treaty, and it is currently stated that the actual range of the rocket will be at least 550 km, according to some sources, it is possible to achieve the range 700-750 km (that is, the PrSM missile is a “shorter” range missile in terms of the INF Treaty).
The creation of PrSM is conducted on a competitive basis by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon corporations on the basis of contracts worth about $ 116 million each, awarded by the U.S. Army in June 2017.
Initially, flight tests of missiles of both competitors were planned to begin in July 2019, but they were postponed due to the delay in the creation of a number of systems by subcontractors.
It was expected that Raytheon would begin flight testing of its DeepStrike missile, before Lockheed Martin, but the latter carried out successful tests first. The first DeepStrike test is expected to take place in early 2020.
The U.S. Army now expects to make a sample choice for the program by the end of 2020 and begin mass production of the selected PrSM sample in 2023 (with initial expectation in 2027) with the achievement of initial combat readiness in 2025.
Thus, the US was developing missiles that violated the INF Treaty all along, under the pretense that Russia was in non-compliance, but now that the treaty is gone, it wouldn’t be a surprise if similar weapons begin crawling out of the woodwork.
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