Oct 11, 2013
DARPA Testing New Ship-Killing Missile
In an Aug. 27 test, an Air Force B-1B bomber fired an inert long-range anti-ship missile (LRASM)that homed in on a moving ship target and tore through its stacked metal containers for a direct hit. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is overseeing the development, intends to design these anti-ship missiles to be fired from the B-1B and Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets. A sea-launched version would be fired from a cruiser or destroyer’s missile magazines.
The missile packs a punch: Its 1,000-pound warhead is double the size of the fleet’s primary anti-ship missile, the Harpoon, and could strike targets beyond 200 nautical miles away.
"It’s designed to take out capital ships that are in a formation, a surface action group,” said the program manager of the anti-ship missile at Lockheed Martin.
The anti-ship missiles fly at subsonic speeds and rely on stealth to defeat jammers and intercept missiles.
The anti-ship missile is a capability leap past the Harpoon, which has a 75-mile range and cannot be redirected in flight. The newer anti-ship missile is also more stealthy and likely to survive countermissile interceptors and bullets. And by being fired from vertical launch system tubes, the missiles can be heavier and go farther than a Harpoon.
LASRM can be shot in “fire and forget” mode or it can be directed to an area, where it will find the target on its own. It can also be sent new directions in-flight, much like a Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile and is a stealthy missile.