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Lockheed launches LRASM test vehicle from VLS

Lockheed Martin completed the first surface launch of a boosted Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) test vehicle from a naval Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS) on 4 September, the company says. The LRASM is designed to be launched from both aircraft and naval surface warships.

The LRASM boosted test vehicle trial is internally funded by Lockheed even though the programme is funded under a joint effort led by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), says Frank St John, vice-president of Lockheed missiles and fire control.

The objective of the test is risk reduction for the LRASM weapon, St John says. For this test, the Mk 114 rocket booster was not separated from the test vehicle. However, follow-on DARPA funded testing will see two full-up LRASM missiles launched from a Mk 41 VLS.

In all, the LRASM programme will consist of the three air launches and two surface launches against operationally representative threats. If the weapon is successful, it will be a contender for the US Navy’s Offensive Anti-Surface Weapon programme.

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