This file photo shows a US Navy Poseidon P-8A aircraft releasing a torpedo mid-air.
The US Navy has expanded its arsenal by successfully test-launching Lockheed Martin’s new Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), and purchasing 17 new anti-submarine aircraft from Boeing.
During the test, which was conducted at Maryland’s NAS Patuxent River recently, a US Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jet fired the stealthy missile for the first time, the media reported Monday.
“The first time event of releasing LRASM from the F/A-18E/F is a major milestone towards meeting early operational capability in 2019,” Mike Fleming, Lockheed Martin’s LRASM program director, said in a statement. “The program is executing the integration and test contract, maturing subsystems and proving flight worthiness.”
According to Lockheed, the LRASM “is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships by employing advanced technologies that reduce dependence on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links and GPS navigation.”
Lockheed Martin’s illustration of its stealthy Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM).
The missile is based on the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) and would be used both by the US Navy and the Air Force.
According to Fleming, the missile would first be integrated onboard the US Air Force’s B-1B strategic bomber in 2018 and then on the Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet a year later.
Boeing to make more sub-killer aircraft
The Navy also announced on Monday that it had granted a $2.2 billion contract to Boeing for 17 new P-8A Poseidon Maritime Surveillance Aircraft, designed to track and destroy submarines.
With a range of up to 7,200 kilometers (4,500 miles) without the need to refuel, the Poseidon aircraft can carry several types of bombs and torpedoes while reaching speeds of about 490 knots (900 kilometers per hour).
Boeing plans to equip the Poseidon with a new system that allows it drop torpedoes from altitudes of 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) or higher.
Overall, the Navy has purchased 78 of the aircraft, with around 50 of them already delivered.
The aircraft would replace the force’s ageing fleet of Lockheed P-3 Orion anti-submarine/maritime surveillance aircraft.
US President Donald Trump has vowed to increase the country’s military spending by over $50 billion next year. This is while, Washington often bars other countries from testing or purchasing similar weaponry, even for defensive purposes.
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