The Air Force delayed both the Long Range Standoff (LRSO) weapon program and an anticipated fiscal year 2015 contract award by three years, according to the service’s FY ’15 budget justification books.

The books cite “higher Air Force priorities” for the slippage while a notice posted on Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) cited reduced funding in the FY ’15 budget. In its FY ’14 budget justification books, the Air Force predicted $40.5 million in funding for FY ’15. The service formally requested $4.9 million for the upcoming fiscal year, a reduction of $35.6 million. Overall, from funding estimated in FY ’14, the Air Force is slashing $958 million in funding from fiscal years 2015-2018.  Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Erika Yepsen said Thursday the service is shifting funding out three years due to warhead uncertainty and sequestration.

The Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) is the predecessor to the eventual Long Range Standoff  (LRSO) weapon. Photo: Air Force.
The Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) is the predecessor to the eventual Long Range Standoff (LRSO) weapon. Photo: Air Force.

In his March 5 opening remarks to the Senate Armed Services (SASC) strategic forces subcommittee, Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak testified the service will continue risk reduction and early systems engineering work, as well as continue coordination with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to ensure the production schedule for a life-extended LRSO warhead is synchronized with operational requirements. Yepsen said this effort, known as the Concept Assessment Study Phase 6.1, is scheduled to take place between July and September.

Harencak also said the FY ’15 budget continues a comprehensive service life extension program for the Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) AGM-86B, the predecessor to LRSO, that will sustain the weapon system through 2030. Boeing [BA] is the prime contractor for ALCM.

LRSO will be capable of penetrating and surviving advanced integrated air defense systems (IADS) from significant standoff range to prosecute strategic targets in support of the Air Force’s global attack capability and strategic deterrence core function. Fiscal years 2014 and 2015 funding for LRSO supports program office standup, Milestone A activities, preparation for a request for proposals (RFP) release and source selection activities.

Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Melissa Hilliard said Thursday the company is developing technologies applicable to the program and, when the RFP is released, the company will evaluate its capabilities and offerings at that time. Representatives from Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Boeing said in October their companies would pursue the LRSO program (Defense Daily, Oct. 21). Boeing spokesman Garrett Kasper said Thursday the company still intends to pursue LRSO.

The Air Force said in a February 2013 email that firm-fixed-price pre-technology study contracts for LRSO were awarded to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman [NOC] and Raytheon [RTN].