Defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has bagged new missile contracts from the United States military, including the largest-ever production contract for the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) in the history of its program, according to reports.
According to a press release, the Pentagon has awarded a $414-million contract to Lockheed for production of the LRASMs, Joint Air To Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missiles, along with the support logistics and training.
“This contract reflects LRASM’s increasing significance to our customers’ missions. Focused teamwork around a shared vision with our customers and our dedicated supply partners remains key to this program’s success,” program director at Lockheed Martin, David Helsel, was quoted by Air Recognition as saying.
“We look forward to continuing our important work and growing our capabilities and platforms,” he added.
The contracts were awarded via the US Air Force, and work on both of them shall be completed by the first quarter of 2025. Interestingly, the LRASM contract also includes Foreign Military Sales.
“Lockheed Martin, Orlando, Florida, has been awarded a $414,251,844 firm-fixed-price contract, for 137 Lots 4 and 5 Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles, tooling and test equipment. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida; and Troy, Alabama, and is expected to be completed (by) March 21, 2025. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and is the result of a sole-source acquisition,” it read.
The LRASM, which is a stealth air-launched cruise missile, was intended to pioneer more sophisticated autonomous targeting capabilities than the US Navy’s current Harpoon anti-ship missile, which has been in service since 1977.
LRASM has the precision guidance capabilities to meet the mark, day or night, in all weather conditions.
— Lockheed Martin (@LockheedMartin) September 23, 2020
The Navy was authorized by the Pentagon to put the LRASM into limited production in February 2014 as an urgent capability stop-gap solution to address range and survivability problems with the Harpoon.
Interestingly, the design of the LRASM is based on the JASSM-ER, which was also ordered in the contract. “Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Florida, has been awarded a $428,406,732 firm-fixed-price contract, for 400 Lot 19 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range missiles with containers, training and production preparation, tooling and test equipment and hardware spares,” the notification read.
On 27 October 2019, at the end of the Barisha raid to capture or kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the then-leader of the Islamic State terror organization, a number of AGM-158B (JASSM-ER) missiles were used to destroy the compound where the raid took place.