Britain’s BAE Systems started producing the sensor technology for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) after winning a $40 million order from prime program contractor the Lockheed Martin [LMT], the company said Wednesday.

BAE’s advanced mid-course sensor, sometimes called a “seeker” according to a company spokesman, allows the missile to seek and target specific maritime targets within larger groups of ships, even when protected by “sophisticated ant-aircraft system” the company said.

A Lockheed Martin rendering of LRASM.
A Lockheed Martin rendering of LRASM.

The LRASM is a precision anti-ship standoff missile based on the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range for use in contested environments. It relies on technologies that let it limit dependence on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms; network links; and GPS navigation in electronic war environments.

The air-launched variant is set to reach early operational capabilities in 2019 on Air Force B-1Bs and Navy F/A-18E/F aircraft.

In July, Lockheed Martin won an $86.5 million initial production award to make 23 LRASMs in low-rate initial production Lot 1 (Defense Daily, July 27). Increment I plans for integration into B-1Bs in 2018 and F/A-18E/Fs in 2019.

BAE said this sensor technology integrates the company’s software and hardware capabilities originally designed for leading electronic warfare aircraft platforms and represents the company’s approach to move precision guidance to small platforms.

Joseph Mancini, LRASM program manager at BAE, argued this work shows how the company leads capabilities in precision guidance and advanced electronics.

“The production of our advanced sensor for LRASM is a testament to the strength of our technology and our ability to transition the capability from airframes to missiles,” Mancini said in a statement.

The company also noted that it provided the sensor technology that supported the July surface-launch topside canister variant demonstration of the LRASM. That version mimicked a deck-mounted ship-launched configuration (Defense Daily, July 27).

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin previously conducted a free flight launch test of the LRASM from a B-1B Lancer in August during a test as Point Mugu Sea Range, Calif. That was the first end-to-end functionality test for the LRASM, where they tested the missile’s ability to identify and attack a moving target at sea (Defense Daily Aug. 18).

Sensor work will be performed at BAE’s Nashua, N.H., and Wayne, N.J., facilities.