U.S. Navy Eyes Hypersonic Weapon as Future Carrier-based Long-range Missile

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 07:45 AM, March 29, 2023
  • 859
U.S. Navy Eyes Hypersonic Weapon as Future Carrier-based Long-range Missile
Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM)

The U.S. Navy has asked Raytheon and Lockheed Martin to develop a carrier-suitable long-range, high speed missile designated Hypersonic Air Launched Offensive Anti-Surface (HALO).

Two contracts were awarded to the companies March 27. Valued at a total of $116 million, it 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 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.

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.

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, he said.

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.

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 incuorporate 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.

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