By Geoff Fein
Lockheed Martin [LMT] and BAE Systems will test fire several rounds of the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) this week, part of a larger effort to continue testing the guided rocket being developed for use on DDG-1000, according to company officials.
Additionally, the two companies, along with SAIC [SAI], are in the midst of testing a scaled down variant of LRLAP, the team is developing to fill the naval surface fire support (NSFS) gap, a result of the demise of the Navy’s Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM) effort in 2008.
Both Lockheed Martin and BAE expect the Navy to hold a competitive fly-off program for ERM.
BAE and Lockheed Martin continue to perform on both the 155mm LRLAP and the 5-inch LRLAP, A BAE official told Defense Daily yesterday at the annual Surface Navy Association symposium in Arlington, Va.
"On the 155 side, we are doing the testing of tactical or near-tactical rounds, including testing of two rounds this Friday," the BAE official said.
The guided flight tests of the tactical configuration of LRLAP, minus warheads, are being done in advance of LRLAP’s critical design review (CDR), scheduled for December.
"We will shoot five rounds before CDR," the BAE official said.
Under this test phase, Lockheed Martin and BAE plan to fire a total of 25 LRLAP rounds at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Those rounds will be shot from an Advanced un System (AGS) tube mounted on a M110 8-inch howitzer chassis, a Lockheed Martin official told Defense Daily during the same interview. BAE builds AGS which is being developed for DDG-1000.
"That’s the standard approach because it provides a recoil mechanism. It’s portable, and we can set that test vehicle up at any test range," the BAE official said.
"On the 5-inch side, the current schedule has us doing rocket ballistic tests next month, pointing toward multiple guided flights this summer in roughly the July timeframe," the BAE official added.
BAE and Lockheed Martin have done some ballistic tests with a full-up airframe.
"We’ve tested the rocket motor, the tail fin assemblies, and canard actuation," the BAE official said.
While they haven’t done any flight tests to date, the team has done component level testing of the deeply-integrated guidance and navigation unit (DIGNU).
"There has been extensive hardware testing in support of reaching the guided flight test this summer," the BAE official added.
Although the team has been successful with development and testing of the LRLAP round, that doesn’t mean that success will directly translate to the 5-inch variant… or what is being called LRLAP Lite, the Lockheed Martin official said.
"That’s why we have initiated this IRAD and pulled our money together, so we can prove that the knowledge that we’ve built in the development of LRLAP we can transfer over to the 5-inch and successfully demonstrate that this is doable," the Lockheed Martin official said. "Because there is the perception among the services, probably in OSD, and on the Hill that flying a 5-inch guided projectile is not possible. We fundamentally disagree with that. We believe that by end of this summer, or into the fall, we will be flying 5- inch guided projectiles to demonstrate to the Navy that we can move directly into a program start. And if they want to have competition we welcome it."