May 22 (UPI) -- A warhead for the U.S. Army's DeepStrike long-range surface-to-surface missile program had a successful test, maker Raytheon Co. announced on Wednesday.
The first flight test for the DeepStrike missile, a part of the Precision Strike Missile program, which will replace the Army Tactical Missile System designed in the 1970s, is planned for later this year.
Preliminary design review for the munition was finished in March after development was sped forward to move its operational date up by four years from 2027 to 2023.
"This test, on the heels of our successful preliminary design review for DeepStrike, shows how quickly we are moving to deliver this much-needed capability to ground troops," Dr. Thomas Bussing, vice president of Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems, said in a press release.
In the test, the warhead was detonated within a controlled environment and determined to exceed Army performance requirements, the company said.
Raytheon officials said the warhead "exceeds Army performance requirements based on the mass and distribution of fragments."
The missile carries the ability to defeat land targets up to 310 miles away, and Raytheon says it can fly twice as fast with double the firepower of current systems, at half the cost.
Raytheon and Lockheed Martin were awarded contracts to build prototypes for the program with missiles designed to attack fixed ground locations, including helicopter staging areas or hardened bunkers.
"Adversaries are already equipped with precision strike weapons that could inflict substantial damage at distances beyond the Army's striking power," former Army Col. John Weinzettle, now a program manager at Raytheon's Advanced Missile Systems, said in March.