The Army has conducted a second successful captive-carry test of its multi-mode seeker for the future Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), and is preparing several flight tests for the missile in 2021 to include firing a maximum range shot above 500 kilometers in early fall.
Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, director of the Army’s Long Range Precision Fires Cross Functional Team, told Defense Daily
the PrSM flight test plan this year also includes a long-range shot of 400 kilometers in April at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and a side-by-side missile firing in the fall as part of Project Convergence.
Rafferty said PrSM, which is being developed by Lockheed Martin [LMT] to replace the legacy ATACMS missiles, is on track to achieve a Milestone B decision by the summer with a production contract set to be awarded this year.
“We’re working contracts right now for production for the first batch of missiles that will be delivered in 2023,” Rafferty said. “In order to make that 2023 delivery, they’ve got to start building those missiles this year. So, sooner is better.”
The recent multi-mode seeker test this month at White Sands Missile Range follows an initial successful captive-carry test last June, with plans to now integrate the capability on a surrogate missile and conduct another test later this spring.
“The seeker is able to see the target and locate the target. As simple as that sounds, those are really important results,” Rafferty said. “There’s a lot of confidence from our industry partners in the design and the approach [of the multi-mode seeker], and that bodes very well for the long-term success of the seeker and the integration into the missile.”
Rafferty has previously said the government-designed seeker will be part of PrSM’s initial technology update to the weapon in fiscal year 2025 to help PrSM’s “ability to attack maritime targets in the Pacific and emitting [Integrated Air Defense Systems] in Europe” (Defense Daily, June 4).
The max-range test flight later this year will take place at a test site on the West Coast, according to Rafferty, who could not offer specifics beyond a goal to reach above 500 kilometers.
“We’ll see how far [PrSM] will go. It will be probably more than 500 kilometers,” Rafferty said.
The initial base missile is set to reach ranges out past 500 kilometers, while subsequent technology spirals will push to ranges of 700 to 800 kilometers, the Army has said previously.