Lockheed Raytheon Loitering Attack Missile Test a Hit
According to a statement released by the company, Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] along with the Raytheon Company [NYSE: RTN], recently performed eight successful tests of the Non-Line-of-Sight - Launch System's Loitering Attack Missile Multiple Explosively Formed Penetrator warhead. The tests proved the warhead's lethality against a wide variety of targets according to Lockheed.
Following the first four-tests series reported in July, this latest test series took place at Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, New Mexico, and included five warhead events to characterize lethality firing through the Loitering Attack Missile's aerodynamic skins. Lockheed claims all warhead events successfully achieved required pattern and penetration with margin into armor witness plates.
Three additional warheads were expended in insensitive munition (IM) screening also at Socorro, meeting the cook-off and bullet impact expectations, the statement added. IM configuration enhancements help minimize the probability of inadvertent detonation, helping limit damage to the weapon platform, logistics systems or personnel when a munition is subjected to unplanned events such as heat, shock or impact.
Aerojet-General Corporation, Sacramento, CA, designed and built the warhead that was integrated onto the LAM. The Multiple Explosively Formed Penetrator (MEFP) warhead will allow the LAM to achieve a good balance for two key performance parameters: loiter time and lethality. The under seven-pound MEFP is configured to deliver 24 fragments in an expanding geometric pattern.
According to the statement, in this test series, fragments consistently penetrated mild steel. This enables LAM to adjust the altitude of attack and aim point to optimize fragment impact of targets, including potential naval targets. The new LAM design accommodates the present warhead also allowing for additional fuel for longer loitering time. The aerospace firm claims that precise and predictable patterns of this MEFP design allow the agile LAM to use aim point selection for precision effects and minimum collateral damage.
LAM is projected to loiter, locate, identify and destroy a large number of high-value mobile targets. Part of the Army's Future Combat Systems, LAM and its laser detection and ranging (LADAR) seeker have been demonstrated under previous Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's NetFires and U.S. Air Force's Low-Cost Autonomous Attack (LOCAAS) programs, and will be interoperable with the current as well as future forces.
LAM can be employed as a target-acquirer, and is able to scan, identify, report and isolate targets encountered throughout its flight path. Lockheed claims that by screening all the imagery on board the munition via the target recognizer, only the relevant data is sent back to the operator. Thus LAM sends back an occasional 'chiplet' of relevant target data information the operator assessment.
The Non-Line-of-Sight - Launch System's LAM is a ground-launched, canistered artillery missile capable of hunter-killer flight operation, automatic target recognition, and can report or attack target locations for strike by other munitions.