Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have received a $900 million contract from the US Air Force to develop and mature technologies for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile programme.
The current phase of the program is a critical step in advancing technologies, systems and subsystems for the weapon programme, leading up to the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development milestone expected in 2022.
“LRSO will provide the next generation strategic deterrent missile for the air-launched portion of the nuclear triad,” said David Helsel, LRSO program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Lockheed Martin’s proven experience in cruise missile and strategic systems technologies will provide the most reliable, capable, sustainable and affordable program in defense of our nation and our allies.”
LRSO is a replacement for the US Air Force’s AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) that has been operational since 1986.
The LRSO programme is to develop a weapon that can penetrate and survive integrated air defence systems and prosecute strategic targets. Both conventional and nuclear versions of the weapon are required to reach initial operational capability before the retirement of their respective ALCM versions, around 2030.
The LRSO weapon system will, the ocmpany say, be capable of penetrating and surviving advanced integrated air defence systems from significant standoff range to prosecute strategic targets in support of the ‘US Air Force’s global attack capability and strategic deterrence core function’.
“The LRSO will be a reliable, long-ranging and survivable weapon system and an absolutely essential element of the nuclear triad,” Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, told the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee in May. “The LRSO missile will ensure the bomber force continues to hold high-value targets at risk in an evolving threat environment, including targets deep within an area-denied environment.”