Lockheed Martin completes short-range test of long-range missile
In what seems like a paradox, Lockheed Martin has successfully conducted a short-range qualification flight test of its long-range Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) for the US Army at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
PrSM is the latest iteration of Lockheed's Extended-Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (ER GMLRS) family, which reached a record range of 150 km (93 miles) in September 2023 after being integrated with the Army's HIMARS Launcher. It will eventually be able to reach 400 km (250 miles) when fully operational.
Why such a long-range missile would want to be put to a short-range test may not be clear at first glance but, from an engineering point of view, it's a necessity. Not only might the PrSM be required to fire on nearby targets, but short-range tests are an important test of the missile's strength and reliability.
At short range, PrSM might still be in the acceleration phase and would only have a fraction of the time it would normally have to lock onto and guide itself to the target. Guiding itself under such conditions puts a great deal of stress on the missile airframe and forces the guidance system to work closer to the edge of its envelope.
"This demonstration is the first of several production qualification tests moving PrSM closer to fielding and delivery of Early Operational Capability (EOC) missiles this year," said Jay Price, vice president of Precision Fires at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "PrSM is a critical capability and the top long-range precision fires modernization priority for the US Army."
Source: Lockheed Martin