The US Navy has announced plans to award a sole-source contract to Boeing to integrate the long-range anti-ship missile (LRASM) onto earlier versions of the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
To be awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, the two-year agreement will require Boeing to provide engineering and instrumentation support for LRASM airworthiness testing.
The LRASM is a precision-guided missile designed to detect and destroy high-priority targets within swarms of ships. It will reportedly replace the navy’s aging Harpoon anti-ship missile.
The weapon has a multi-mode radio frequency sensor, a new weapon data-link and altimeter, and an upgraded power system that allow it to penetrate more sophisticated enemy air defense systems at long range.
Although the value of the deal has yet to be negotiated and announced, it was revealed that the modification contract will be awarded this spring.
Earlier this year, Boeing secured a $74 million contract to integrate the LRASM onto later versions of the P-8A Poseidon. The company will design, develop, and test the software until October 2024 for integration onto the aircraft.
The US Navy also issued a request for information to determine if other defense firms could perform aeromechanical and software integration to fit the missile system onto the Poseidon.
In November, Boeing won another $13.54 million contract to provide support, engineering, and procurement services for the Lockheed-developed plane. The deal will focus on Increment Three Block One retrofit modifications and the production of 25 additional retrofit kits for the aircraft.
Upgrading the LRASM
While the navy is looking to integrate the LRASM onto the P-8A Poseidon, Lockheed has contracted BAE Systems to provide next-generation missile seekers for the weapon system.
Valued at $117 million, the contract will allow BAE to equip the LRASM with long-range sensors and targeting technology to help the missile find and engage protected enemy ships in electronic warfare jamming environments.
The seeker’s guidance sensor will utilize semi-autonomous guidance and target cueing data to locate targets and reduce reliance on the navy’s networking links, GPS navigator, and surveillance aircraft.
BAE Systems said it will work to make the seeker system smaller, more capable, and more efficient to produce and be integrated onto the LRASM.