Navy's LRASM anti-ship missile may prove a game changer against China, yet it's still a slow subsonic weapon

LRASM can cover the distance from China, the Philippines, and Japan, yet its subsonic design may be a disadvantage against hypersonic anti-ship missiles.

May 24th, 2019
This image represents the new LRASM anti-ship missile firing from a surface warship's vertical launch system.
This image represents the new LRASM anti-ship missile firing from a surface warship's vertical launch system.Lockheed Martin image

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy harbors many secrets that must be kept from America’s enemies, like where its submarines are operating or how it exploits intelligence from reconnaissance satellites, yet many of the Navy’s surface warships have almost no anti-ship missile capability to engage hostile vessels? Forbes reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

24 May 2019 -- The threat posed by hostile warships is back, driven mainly by China’s rise in the Western Pacific. If the U.S. Navy wants to preserve its dominant role in the region, it will need to rebuild its ability to deter and defeat hostile naval forces.

There appears to be only one solution with the necessary range, lethality and survivability. It is called the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, or LRASM. It can reach 580 miles, and is so stealthy it is nearly impossible to detect—much less shoot down. China’s navy has little means to counter a maneuvering weapon that generates no trackable radar return or infrared signature.

As effective as LRASM may be, however, it's still a subsonic missile. In this new era of hypersonic missile development, LRASM has missed the boat. Without hypersonic speeds, it still takes time to reach its target, and may never get there if detected.

Related: Air Force ramping-up production of subsonic Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM)

Related: Lockheed Martin hypersonic missile may achieve speeds of 3,800 miles per hour -- or one mile per second

Related: Just in a nick of time: U.S. military researchers finally get serious about Mach 5 hypersonic weapons

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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