Tag Archives: PrSM

Long Range Precision Fires

As the U.S. Army’s number one modernization priority, Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) has a heavy (pay)load to carry.

Precision Strike Missile (PrSM)
An M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launches a Precision Strike Missile on December 10, 2019, at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. HIMARS is one of the Army’s front-running munitions that addresses Long Range Precision Fires (Photo by White Sands Missile Range, Kinsey Lindstrom)

But the program, of which the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Aviation & Missile Center (AvMC) plays a critical role, has proven to stand up to the scrutiny. The Precision Strike Missile, part of the LRPF portfolio, is an integral reason why.

« Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) is an exciting capability improvement for the Army that will provide dramatic improvements in targeting, lethality and range while using existing launchers», said Christi Dolbeer, director of the Technology Development Directorate at DEVCOM AvMC.

What makes PrSM so revolutionary? Both an ambitious approach to increasing capabilities but also a pragmatic one. Those launchers are already built, already in the field and already utilized by Soldiers who will not need extensive additional training on the weapons system’s operation. That design was intentional given the Army’s «do more with less» climate and an expected program price tag of more than $1.2 billion over five years.

«PrSM fits in the existing High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers», said Mike Turner, Fires Capability Area Lead for DEVCOM AvMC. «It is part of the command-and-control structure. It will be organic to all Army fires units. So, we have hundreds of launchers already capable of firing this and the targeting dilemma we create for potential adversaries is significant. Especially when we talk about increment four, where we can shoot 1000 kilometers/621.4 miles and that can come from any field artillery rocket and missile unit».

The first increment of PrSM brings with it the capabilities of an increased 500-kilometer/310.7-mile range and double the missile capacity per launcher compared to the aging Army Tactical Missile System. It is currently in an engineering and manufacturing development phase overseen by the Program Executive Office Missiles and Space Strategic and Operational Rockets and Missiles Project Office and is scheduled to be delivered to Soldiers in 2023.

Engineers at DEVCOM AvMC are currently working with prime contractor Lockheed Martin on increment two, which will integrate a multimode seeker to hit both poorly located unmoving targets and moving targets. This capability will expand the PrSM target set to include maritime targets under the Land-Based Anti-Ship Missile science and technology program.

Still in its early stages, increment three focuses on an enhanced lethality: adding smart submunitions – a small munition that separates from the missile prior to impact – and multiple target capabilities. Increment three will also present an opportunity for industry competition.

In a testament to Army adaptability, the increment intended to be fourth has been prioritized ahead of three and will extend PrSM’s range to 1000 kilometers/621.4 miles, doubling the range of increment capabilities. The reordering, directed by Army Futures Command and the Army, was due to «a need for a longer range in certain theaters», Turner said.

Doubling the range of the precursor missile with increment one –then doubling it again with increment four – is ambitious. Turner credits the leadership of the Long Range Precision Fire Cross-Functional Team in fostering collaboration within the Army enterprise, a collaboration that has opened avenues of ingenuity for a program conceptualized by the DEVCOM AvMC team in 2011. As increment one is soon to be delivered under urgent materiel release, Turner and his team’s belief in the future of the program remains unwavering.

«We are confident we can do it», he said.

The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.

Precision Strike Missile

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully completed a static test of its Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) rocket motor as part of its motor qualification effort. The test supports the necessary requirements to validate the company’s motor design for production.

Precision Strike Missile (PrSM)
The PrSM rocket motor performing a static test at Northrop Grumman’s test facility (Northrop Grumman photo)

«With another successful rocket motor test complete, we are one step closer to providing the U.S. Army with a next-generation, long range fires capability», said Rebecca Torzone, vice president, missile products, Northrop Grumman. «Our new motor delivers enhanced performance that translates to increased weapon load out and standoff for our warfighter».

The test validated that the motor met all performance requirements after being conditioned to extreme cold temperatures. The rocket motor will undergo a series of additional qualification tests before initial fielding in 2023.

PrSM will replace the Army’s Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), significantly extending range and doubling the load out by providing two missiles per launch pod versus ATACMS’ single missile. This upgrade is made possible by the new Northrop Grumman PrSM rocket motor, which incorporates the latest high performance solid propulsion technologies as well as enhanced soldier-safety features.

Northrop Grumman will produce the PrSM propulsion system at its manufacturing facility at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center. The company’s investments in digital technologies drive affordability in one of the world’s most modern and efficient tactical solid rocket motor production facilities.

These advancements allow for the quick turnaround of a production ready PrSM system to support the U.S. Army’s request for an early operational capability. The efficiency achieved from digital transformation ensures the warfighter is equipped quicker than ever before.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

Flight Test

Lockheed Martin’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) successfully completed its fourth consecutive flight test with the U.S. Army on May 12, 2021 in a 400-kilometer/259-mile demonstration at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

PrSM
The next-generation long-range Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) launches from a HIMARS in its first test demonstration in December 2019 (Photo Courtesy: U.S. Army)

The PrSM was fired from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher and flew with expected precision to the target area where it once again demonstrated a highly accurate and effective warhead event.

Test objectives included confirming flight trajectory, range and accuracy from launch to impact, as well as warhead lethality, HIMARS integration and overall missile performance.

«PrSM accomplished all of the Army’s test objectives again today in its longest flight yet», said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «The missile’s impressive performance to date reflects the dedication of the joint-industry PrSM team to advance this capability with speed, efficiency and precision».

The 400-kilometer/259-mile flight is the first of three demonstrations that will take place this year as part of the Enhanced Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (ETMRR) phase of the development program. This series of flight tests follows three successful TMRR demonstrations culminating last spring. Additional ETMRR flights are slated for the second half of 2021 and will include a maximum range flight test and participation in the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence this fall.

Lockheed Martin continues to successfully validate the design and performance of the baseline tactical missile and is working with the Army on Engineering Design Testing, production readiness and fielding requirements to support multi-domain operations and future needs of the soldier.

The next-generation precision-strike, surface-to-surface weapon system will deliver enhanced capabilities for attacking, neutralizing, suppressing and destroying targets at depth on the battlefield. It further provides field artillery units a new long-range capability while supporting brigade, division, corps, Army, theater, Joint and Coalition forces.

For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), HIMARS, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and Guided MLRS to domestic and international customers.