Thursday, December 14, 2017

US: US Airforce successfully tested the new Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRSM)

(Point Mugu)  Since the end of the cold war, the US like many other western nations downsized its military forces and diverted the money saved towards other projects. Unfortunately that so called era of peace and understanding went out of the window when countries such as Russia/China/North Korea and Iran upped their military expenditure.  That hasn't been helped with how the west has spent the last 16 years fighting a primarily asymmetrical war across the globe, which has resulted in a lot of money being spent on fighting terrorism, be it new body or vehicle armour, new mine resistant vehicles  , UAVs  and of course the low collateral damage weapons (Brimstone/JDAMS/SDB)

Due to the cuts enforced upon the US military and the redirection of funds to combat terrorism, they have found themselves deficient in certain areas, aircraft numbers, ship numbers and offensive capabilities, such as Anti-ship missiles.

Until recently, the only missile US Navy ships could fire at enemy ships was the ageing Harpoon, whose 70 to 150 mile range (depending on model) is badly outgunned by newer Russian and Chinese Missiles. (Yes the Harpoon is getting a new update, but it is still based on 70s technology)  

Missile range graph taken from this document 

The US started development in 2009 of a new stealthy, intelligent anti-ship missile. Using technology already in place arising from the development of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) a low observable standoff air-launched cruise missile, the Americans fast tracked their development  of their new anti-ship missile coming up with the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile or LRASM and today they carried out their final test of the missile before it is enrolled out to the Navy next year.

LRASM comes to the table with a long range (200 miles) and a large warhead, 1,000 pounds. It is designed to navigate autonomously around enemy radar and defences,  by using artificial intelligence In otherwords it is designed to to be sneaky, which combined with its stealth features means it should be able to hit the enemy without giving them time to react. Hopefully allowing the US military to get back into the game. Mind you, I think the Anti-ship missile to watch is the Japanese XASM-3 with its Mach 3 speed and range of upto 124 miles.