DARPA Awards Development Contract to Lockheed for New Anti-ship Missile

by: Matthew Potter
November 12, 2010

Category: Business Line, Companies, Contract Awards, DARPA, development program, Events, Lockheed Martin, Military Aviation, production program, Raytheon, S&T, Services, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy | RSS 2.0

A few weeks ago the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Raytheon (RTN) a contract to begin development of new, advanced air-to-air missile (AAM). Two major innovations for this system are to be a multi-mode seeker and a small footprint. Now DARPA has given Lockheed Martin (LMT) a similar contract to work on a ship based weapon for attacking enemy vessels.

This contract is worth about $150 million to initiate a rapid development program for the new missile. A great deal more money will be needed to complete development and testing and transition the design to production.

The goal is to make a weapon that has greater range then current available missiles.

The Soviet Union made the first strides in these systems back in the Fifties as a way to provide their ships with strike capabilities. The Royal and U.S. Navies relied on carrier based aircraft as their primary anti-shipping weapon as in World War II. The West did develop their own missiles with the U.S. Harpoon and French Exocet systems coming into use but these are limited in range to about 100 nautical miles.

The U.S. has been using basic variants of missiles developed in the Eighties for the air-to-air and air-to-ground mission although the addition of GPS guidance packages has significantly improved accuracy of bombs and missiles.

This program joins the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) in development and the new AAM in planning to use multi-mode seekers which can use radar, laser and optical guidance systems. The extension of this capability to missiles for all types of missions is a natural progression.

Photo from Andreia’s flickr photostream.

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