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AGM-158C LRASM

Anti-ship cruise missile

AGM-158C LRSAM missile

The AGM-158C LRASM is a new generation stealthy anti-ship missile

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service Expected in 2018
Missile
Missile length ~ 4.3 m
Missile width ~ 0.55 m
Wing span ~ 2.4 m
Missile weight 1 100 kg
Missile weight (with booster) 2 000 kg
Warhead weight 450 kg
Warhead type HE-FRAG
Range of fire 370 km
CEP ~ 3 m

 

   The LRASM, which stands for Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile, was developed by Lockheed Martin. It is a new-generation anti-ship cruise missile, based on an AGM-158B JASSM-ER air-launched cruise missile. It was designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force. In 2009 project was started in two different tracks, one being subsonic LRASM-A cruise missile based on Lockheed Martin's AGM-158 JASSM-ER, and another LRASM-B which was planned to be a high-altitude supersonic missile along the lines of the Indo-Russian BRAHMOS. However the LRASM-B was cancelled in January 2012. Flight tests of LRASM sensors began in May 2012. Various test were conducted since 2013. In August 2013, Lockheed Martin conducted the first flight test of the LRASM, launched from a B-1B Lancer bomber. In September 2013, Lockheed Martin launched a LRASM missile, fitted with a booster, from a Mk.41 vertical launch system, which is widely used on US warships. The US Navy officially designated the air-launched LRASM as the AGM-158C in august 2015. The LRASM conducted its first flight test in a pre-production form in August 2017. The weapon was successfully launched from a B-1B bomber against multiple targets In December 2017. This anti-ship missile was planned to be adopted by the US Air Force in 2018 and by the US Navy in 2019.

   The LRASM is armed with a 450 kg blast fragmentation warhead. This missile employs precision routing and guidance. It can be used in all weather conditions, day or night. The missile employs an advanced sensor suite, data link, and enhanced Global Positioning System (GPS) resistant to jamming. Guidance systems and seeker have been provided by BAE Systems. The LRASM can destroy specific targets within a group of numerous ships at sea. Developers state that its range is greater than 370 km. Some sources speculate that it might have a range of 560 km, considering that the AGM-158B JASSM-ER, it is base on, has a range of 930 km. This missile travels at subsonic speed.

   This stealthy anti-ship missile has been designed to have reduced radar cross section and IR signature. So it is hard to detect and intercept. Its stealthiness makes it easier to overcome advanced air defense systems. The LRASM can detect enemy's electronic emission and attack hostile warships in a best possible way. The missile can also receive targeting information from external sources like other aircraft or drones. Once a group of LRASM missiles are launched, these can exchange targeting data between the group for an efficient swarm attack.

   The B-1B Lancer can carry 24 LRASM missiles, the B-2 Spirit stealthy bomber can carry 16 of these missiles, while the B-52H Stratofortress bomber can carry 20 missiles. This missile can be also integrated on F/A-18E and F/A-18F naval multi-role fighters, as well as F-15E ground attack aircraft and F-16 multi-role fighters. These warplanes can carry one or two of these anti-ship missiles. The AGM-158C is slightly too long to be carried inside internal weapon bay of an F-35 stealthy multi-role fighter. The F-35 can carry this missile externally, however it will compromise aircraft's stealth features.

   Once fitted with a rocket boosted this missile can be fired from an Mk.41 vertical launch systems, which is used on many US warships. In this configuration with the booster attacked the AGM-158C  missile weights 2 000 kg.

   Lockheed Martin corporation was awarded a contract to study the integration of the AGM-158C LRASM on unmanned surface vehicles. It is also believed that a submarine-launched variant of the LRASM could appear in the future.

   A single AGM-158C LRASM missile costs between $700 000 and $1 million.

 

Prem Joshi

   Article by PREM JOSHI

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AGM-158C LRSAM missile

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AGM-158C LRSAM missile

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AGM-158C LRSAM missile

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AGM-158C LRSAM missile

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AGM-158C LRSAM missile

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AGM-158C LRSAM missile

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