EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Air-to-ground missile experts at Raytheon Technologies Corp. will start full-scale development of the next-generation U.S. Air Force air-launched nuclear missile under terms of a $2 million contract announced earlier this month.
Officials of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are asking the Raytheon Missiles & Defense segment in Tucson, Ariz., for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Long Range Standoff (LRSO) weapon system.
The deal eliminates Lockheed Martin Corp. in Bethesda, Md., from further development of the LRSO. The LRSO program is to develop a nuclear weapon that can penetrate and survive integrated air defense systems and attack strategic targets.
The LRSO is to replace the Air Force Boeing AGM-86 air-launched cruise missile, which was designed to launch from the B-52 jet bomber. The LRSO will launch from several different aircraft, including the B-52, and the future Northrop Grumman B-21. The LRSO is to have a range of about 1,500 miles.
Air Force officials chose Raytheon in April LRSO sole-source contractor on the LRSO technology, maturation, and risk reduction phase, which removed competitor Lockheed Martin. The Air Force could buy as many as 1,000 LRSO weapons.
The LRSO is to replace the nuclear AGM-86B in about 2030, equipping the B-52 and B-21 bombers as one-third of the nuclear triad. The missile's first flight could come in 2022.
On this contract Raytheon will demonstrate full production readiness for the LRSO missile. Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz., and should be finished by February 2027. For more information contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense online at www.rtx.com/our-company/our-businesses/rmd, or the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at www.afnwc.af.mil.