The US Air Force (USAF) operational units have taken delivery of the first tactical production Lockheed Martin AGM-158C Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs). Developed by Lockheed Martin, the LRASM reached early operational capability (EOC) status on the USAF B-1B Lancer bomber (up to 24 missiles in its internal weapons bay) ahead of schedule. The missile has already completed necessary integration, flight testing and modelling and simulation. Developed by Lockheed Martin, the LRASM reached early operational capability (EOC) status on the USAF B-1B Lancer bomber ahead of schedule. The company is under contract to deliver 23 LRASM missiles to the USAF and the US Navy.
The rollout of an undisclosed number of missiles to unspecified operational units coincides with the declaration of early operational capability (EOC). The US Navy (USN), which oversees the LRASM programme, had not responded to a request for information at the time of writing. The USN is integrating it on board its Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets (eight missiles on its underwing pylons). With the first LRASMs now with the USAF, the USN should begin receiving its missiles in 2019. Last year, the company received a contract to produce the first production lot of the air-launched variant of LRASM systems.
LRASM is a stealthy precision-guided, anti-ship standoff cruise missile based on the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER). It fills the troop’s anti-surface warfare capability gap. Developed as a successor to the Lockheed Martin AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile (JASSM) and AGM-158B JASSM-Extended Range (ER) missiles currently fielded by the USAF, the LRASM will also replace the AGM-84 Harpoon fielded by the USN. Armed with a 1,000 lb penetrator and blast-fragmentation warhead, the LRASM utilises a multimode sensor, weapon datalink, and an enhanced digital anti-jam Global Positioning System to detect and destroy specific targets within a group of ships.