Phase 2 Negotiations Ongoing
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are developing a long-range missile that will allow the US Army to field twice as many missiles on its existing launch vehicles. Thin and sleek, it will fire two missiles from a single weapons pod, slashing the cost. According to Raytheon, the new missile also flies farther, packs more punch and has a better guidance system than the current weapon. The ability to fit two Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) missiles in an existing launcher is a significant leap.
The new long-range weapon will engage targets at distances up to 499 kilometres. LRPF is primarily meant to attack fixed ground locations, like helicopter staging areas or hardened bunkers. Because current missiles have restrictions in size, payload effectiveness and range, a simple life-extension programme cannot address long-term threats.
With Phase 2 negotiations ongoing, a decision is awaited this summer.