July 26 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control was awarded an $85.5 million contract modification for the production of Long Range Anti Ship Missiles for the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense announced on Monday.
The modification provides for the manufacture of 23 LRASM Lot 1 missiles. The work will be performed in Orlando, Fla., with a projected completion date of Sept. 29, 2019.
The Long Range Anti-Ship Missile is currently under development and testing by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. It It is based on the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range cruise missile currently in service. Like the JASSM, it has a semi-stealth airframe, making it difficult for enemy radar and weapons to detect and track.
The LRASM has multi-modal sensors and a GPS guidance system designed to be resistant to enemy jamming. It is capable of detecting and selecting pre-programmed enemy vessels out of groups of ships without outside guidance, providing greater standoff ranges in excess of 230 miles outside of friendly sensor networks.
The missile is currently being integrated with the B-1B Lancer strategic bomber and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet for air launched missions, as well as the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System used on U.S. and allied ships for surface-to-air and land attack missiles. It is expected to mounted on submarine vertical launch systems as well.
The LRASM is expected to have early operational capability on the B-1 in 2018 and the F/A-18 in 2019. It is anticipated to fill a gap in long range anti-ship capability for the U.S. military, which still relies on the 1970's era Harpoon missile, which has a much shorter range.