PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy aerial warfare experts are asking the Boeing Co. to integrate the Lockheed Martin Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) onto the Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $74 million order last week to the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in Seattle to design, build, and test software and hardware to integrate the LRASM onto the P-8A aircraft -- a militarized version of the Boeing 737-800ERX single-aisle passenger jet.
The Navy issued a request for information (N00019-20-RFPREQ-PMA-290-0387) in February 2020 that revealed plans to fit the LRASM aboard the P-8A aircraft. The Navy also is interested in fitting the Poseidon aircraft with 500-to-2,000-pound versions of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM); MK 62, 63, and 65 mines; Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-II); Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD); Bomb Rack Unit BRU-55; and Universal Armament Interface (UAI).
The job will involve upgrading the Boeing Tactical Open Mission Systems (TOMS) and Stores Management Computer (SMC) software and interfaces, as well as perform test planning, execution, data reduction, and reporting on flight tests, as well as helping the Navy modify, install, and maintain test aircraft and aircraft subsystems.
While Boeing is prime systems integrator of the P-8A maritime patrol plane, the aircraft's flight management system and the stores management system have been developed by GE Aviation Systems in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The P-8's MX-20HD digital electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) multi-spectral sensor turrets come from L-3 Communications Wescam in Burlington, Ontario. Its upgraded APS-137D(V)5 maritime surveillance radar and signals intelligence (SIGINT) system come from the Raytheon Co. Space and Airborne Systems (SAS) segment in McKinney, Texas.
The P-8A will have the CAE Inc. advanced integrated magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) system, and eventually may use air-deployable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to handle magnetic anomaly detection. The Navy plans to arm the P-8A with the MK 54 torpedo.
The LRASM is a joint project of the U.S. Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., the Navy, and the Air Force for launch from the Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet fighter bomber, as well as from the Air Force B-1B Lancer long-range strategic bomber.
In the future LRASM also will launch from the P-8A, F-35 Lighting II joint strike fighter, as well as from the Navy Mark 41 shipboard Vertical Launch System. Submarine-launched versions are under consideration.
LRASM is designed to detect and destroy high-priority targets within groups of ships from extended ranges in electronic warfare jamming environments. It is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER).
LRASM is to replace the ageing Harpoon anti-ship missile, and has a multi-mode radio frequency sensor, a new weapon data-link and altimeter, and an uprated power system.
The LRASM can be guided toward enemy ships from as far away as 200 nautical miles by its launch aircraft, can receive updates via its datalink, or can use onboard sensors to find its target. LRASM will fly towards its target at medium altitude then drop to low altitude for a sea skimming approach to counter shipboard anti-missile defenses. Lockheed Martin is in charge of LRASM overall development, and the BAE Systems Electronic Systems segment in Nashua, N.H., is developing the LRASM onboard sensor systems.
On this order Boeing will do the work in Seattle; Patuxent River NAS, Md.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and St. Louis, and should be finished by October 2024. For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at www.boeing.com/company/about-bds, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.