The Army’s lead official for its future long range precision fires (LRPF) capabilities on Tuesday discussed the service’s interest in a new mid-range missile system, which he said could be used for ranges of 500 to 1,500 kilometers.

Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, director of the LRPF Cross-Functional Team, told attendees during the Army’s virtual Fires Conference the focus for the mid-range missile effort is on pursuing an existing capability that can “apply to a surface-to-surface launch.”

Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, director of the Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team. Photo: U.S. Army.

“We would change the calculus in a second if we could deliver this kind of capability,” Rafferty said.

Army Futures Command previously confirmed to Defense Daily the interest in a mid-range missile capability is the result of a recent strategic fires study that recommended including the weapon to complement ongoing long range fires modernization efforts, such as the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) and hypersonic weapons development (Defense Daily, Sept. 2). 

“If we have PrSM shooting 500 kilometers, if we have a mid-range [missile] capability shooting greater than that, we have a strategic system that’s going thousands of kilometers…and if you look the Pacific and the various island chains and you just imagined putting units in a variety of different places, what a dilemma that would create for our adversary,” Rafferty said. 

Gen. James McConville, the Army chief of staff, has previously echoed Rafferty’s comments regarding interest in existing capabilities, saying the Army could look to acquire SM-6 and Tomahawk missiles, both used by the Navy, for its future long range fires portfolio (Defense Daily, Sept. 8). 

“If you don’t have to develop your own system and you already have something that works, or is pretty close to working, then that’s in all of our interests to go and pursue those. There’s value in going after those types of things,” McConville said earlier this month.