AGM-158C LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile)
AGM-158C LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile)

US Navy Moves Forward with Hypersonic Air Launched Offensive Anti-Surface (HALO)

The U.S. Navy awarded two contracts to Raytheon Missiles and Defense and Lockheed Martin March 27 for the initial development for a carrier suitable long range, high speed missile designated Hypersonic Air Launched Offensive Anti-Surface (HALO). The initial contracts to Raytheon and Lockheed Martin will provide technical maturation and development through preliminary design review of the propulsion system required for a carrier suitable hypersonic weapon system. The contract period of performance for each award will end in December 2024 with each company’s preliminary design review working towards a prototype flight test.

The contracts, valued at a total of $116 million, is the first step to fielding a critical capability over the next decade that will address advanced threats and allow the Navy to operate in and control contested battle space in littoral waters and anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environments. The program is part of the Navy’s Long Range Fires investment approach to meet objectives of the National Defense Strategy where hypersonic weapons are a top priority. These contracts are the first of potentially additional development and production contracts based on initial designs and supplier performance that will inform Navy leadership on future program decisions.

AGM-158C LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile) in flight. (Photo by Lockheed Martin )

“As threat capability continues to advance, additional range, warfare capability and capacity is required to address the more demanding threat environment. Our team is leveraging science and technology and rapid prototyping arenas to support aggressive schedule execution,” said Capt. Richard Gensley, Precision Strike Weapons (PMA-201) program manager.

HALO will be a carrier-based, high speed, long range air-launched weapon that will provide greater anti-surface warfare capability than what’s available today. HALO’s predecessor, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), is currently fielded on the Navy’s F/A-18 and Air Force B-1B. To bridge the gap until HALO is operational, the Navy recently funded an upgrade to the existing weapon which will incorporate missile hardware and software improvements to enhance targeting capabilities. The Navy plans to pursue a competitive acquisition strategy leveraging LRASM requirements and concept of operations to meet future maritime threats beyond mid-2020s. Initial operational capability for HALO is planned to field late this decade.