Lockheed Martin [LMT] has received a $358 million deal to produce ATACMS missiles for the Army and a foreign customer, while the company readies to begin testing in 2019 for the program’s replacement, the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) offering, officials said Monday.
Under the deal announced Monday, Lockheed Martin will modernize and refurbish 290 ATACMS for the Army with modernized electronics, and deliver 30 new missiles to an unnamed foreign customer.
“This program will allow our customers to upgrade their existing Block 1 missiles with new technology and double the range. We are essentially extending these missiles’ shelf life by more than 10 years while providing the warfighter with the latest surface-to-surface missile capability,” a Lockheed Martin official said in a statement.
The ATACMS to the Army will be produced under the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). The SLEP program aims to continue modernizing the current ATACMS stock after the Army decided to terminate buying new ones in 2007.
“Basically, we’ve given the entire missile a new refresh. As we’re going through this production, they’re coming back out as assets that are new and completely reset to a 10-year shelf life,” a Lockheed Martin spokesman told Defense Daily. “The Army has expired inventory on their shelves, So with SLEP, we’re pulling those missiles back in and upgrading all the electronics. The smarts of the missiles will be all brand new, but we’re using some of the exterior structure where possible and saving some steel.”
The latest deal is the second SLEP deal for ATACMS to Lockheed Martin, with officials expecting a request for proposals for a third contract in August.
“We’ve actually designed and qualified a proximity sensor for the system under SLEP. That proximity sensor is going to enable the Army to better neutralize or precisely locate a target,” a Lockheed Martin spokesman told Defense Daily.
Lockheed Martin officials anticipate remaining in full-rate production for ATACMS, including delivery of new missiles and foreign customers and meeting SLEP needs for the Army for the next 5-7 years once the company is ready to move forward with its next-generation PrSM.
The PrSM Lockheed Martins is offering to meet the Army’s long-range precision fires (LRPF) requirement is expected to be in operational flight testing in 2019, according to Lockheed Martin officials.
The Army has awarded Lockheed Martin and Raytheon [RTN] initial contracts to develop LRPF prototypes with a downselect on moving to full development expected in 2021.
“This is something we’re competing for, and we hope to earn the right to continue producing the Army’s only surface-to-surface long-range missile systems,” a Lockheed Martin official told Defense Daily. “We’re in the middle of design verification testing right now for most of our subassemblies. We’ve got our hardware in the loop in simulations. We’re bringing out the system and evaluating the design, and we’re marching towards flight tests for end of third quarter in FY 2019.”
PrSM would offer an extended range of up to 500 km, an increase from ATACMS’ current ability to reach distances of around 300 km. The new missile would also be compatible with both of Lockheed Martin’s missile launchers, HIMARS and the M270A1.
“You can put one ATACMS in a HIMARS or two ATACMS in an M270. From the launcher perspective, you’re doubling the load out with PrSM. So we’re going to be able to provide two missiles that go out to ranges of 499 km in HIMARS, or four in an M270,” a Lockheed Martin official said. “For PrSM, we’re increasing the range. We’re increasing the maneuverability. And we’re designing with future growth in mind.”