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Lockheed delivers first LRASM anti-ship missiles for B-1B Lancer

The company said its Long Range Anti-Ship Missile has achieved early operational capacity for the Lancer, and is on track to do so for the Super Hornet in 2019.

By Stephen Carlson
Lockheed delivers first LRASM anti-ship missiles for B-1B Lancer
The LRASM is meant to be an air-launched, precision-guided, anti-ship and anti-surface warfare weapon for the U.S. Air Force and Navy. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin announced Tuesday it has delivered the first Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles to the U.S. Air Force for use on the B-1B Lancer -- ahead of schedule.

The LRASM will eventually be integrated for the U.S. Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet next year, but the weapon has hit EOC status for the B-1B early, the company said.

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"This event is the culmination of successful partnerships with the U.S. Air Force, Navy and DARPA," David Helsel, LRASM director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a statement.

The LRASM is a long-range precision guided missile designed to autonomously detect and engage enemy warships based on their image recognition, infrared, radar and other sensor profiles.

The LRASM is based somewhat on the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range, or JASSM-ER, which includes a semi-stealth airframe designed to make it difficult for enemy radar and weapons to detect and track.

The LRASM has multi-modal sensors and is GPS-guided, as well as being capable of detecting and selecting pre-programmed enemy vessels without outside guidance.

The Air Force successfully fired an LRASM from a B-1B in August 2017 for the first time, and last month signed a contract with Lockheed Martin for production of the missile.

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Lockheed said Tuesday it is on schedule to achieve EOC for the LRASM on the Super Hornet next year, as expected, and the Air Force is also reportedly mounting weapon on its B-52H heavy bombers.

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