Lockheed Martin are eager to have their Long Range Anti-Ship Missile fitted to Royal Navy Frigates.
The Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) is a stealthy anti-ship cruise missile under development for the US Navy. The LRASM is intended as a replacement for the Harpoon, which has been in service since 1977. The Type 26 will feature a 24 cell MK 41 VLS positioned behind the Sea Ceptor silos. It is expected to a yet unannounced anti-ship missile, lending to speculation that LRASM is the favourite.
Unlike current anti-ship missiles the LRASM is expected to be capable of conducting autonomous targeting, relying on on-board targeting systems to independently acquire the target without the presence of prior, precision intelligence, or supporting services like Global Positioning Satellite navigation and data-links. These capabilities will enable positive target identification, precision engagement of moving ships and establishing of initial target cueing in extremely hostile environment. The missile will be designed with counter-countermeasures to evade hostile active defense systems
Some naval advisors have proposed increasing the LRASM’s capabilities to serve dual functions as a ship-based land attack weapon in addition to anti-ship roles. By reducing the size of its 1,000 lb (450 kg) warhead to increase range from some 300 mi (480 km) to 1,000 mi (1,600 km), the missile would still be powerful enough destroy or disable warships while having the reach to hit inland targets.
First reported by Navy Recognition here, Frank St. John, vice president at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control said:
“Type 26 will be fitted with MK 41 vertical launching system and I believe LRASM would be a good fit for these vessels”
In August 2015, the US Navy began load and fit checks of an LRASM mass simulator vehicle on an F/A-18 Super Hornet. Airworthiness flights of the missile on the aircraft are expected soon, with the first production contract expected in 2017. In August 2015, the US Navy officially designated the air-launched LRASM as the AGM-158C.