Lockheed Martin are eager to have their Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) fitted to new Type 26 Frigate fleet.
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”
The Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) is a stealthy anti-ship cruise missile and is intended as a replacement for the Harpoon, which has been in service since 1977. The Type 26 will feature a MK 41 VLS positioned behind the Sea Ceptor silos. It is expected to host a yet unannounced anti-ship missile, lending to speculation that LRASM is a contender.
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
This comes as it has emerged that the Royal Navy will lose its anti-ship missile capability in 2018 when the Harpoon missile is withdrawn.
While the fleet will still have an anti-ship capability via the submarine fleet and embarked helicopters, this will still be a significant capability gap.
Harpoon missiles are unlikely to be replaced for up to a decade.
Some in the industry have proposed increasing the LRASM’s capabilities to serve dual functions as a ship-based land attack weapon in addition to anti-ship roles.