The US Navy has contracted Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Lockheed Martin to develop a hypersonic anti-ship missile.
The Hypersonic Air Launched Offensive Anti-Surface (HALO) will be fielded over the next decade, allowing the navy to operate in contested battle space and anti-access/area denial environments.
The $116 million in contracts awarded to each firm includes a preliminary design review of the missile’s propulsion through December 2024.
Upgrade on Current Anti-Ship Missiles
The weapon is expected to achieve initial operational capability in the late 2020s.
The HALO is intended to be a long-range, carrier-based, air-launched missile with greater anti-surface warfare capability than current anti-ship weapons.
The navy’s Long Range Fires program was earlier known as the Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare Increment 2 (OASuW Inc 2), while the AGM-158C Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) was the weapon system for the OASuW Inc 1.
Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile
OASuW Inc 1 is an “accelerated acquisition program to procure a limited number of air-launched missiles to meet a near-term US Pacific Fleet capability gap in 2018.”
The navy has begun deploying the LRSM on the F/A-18 and the US Air Force on the B-1B.
The missile is based on the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range with a range of over 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers/230 miles).
While issuing the solicitation notice for increment 2 in 2021, the Naval Air Systems Command wrote that the “threat capability continues to advance and additional range and warfare capability and capacity is required to address the more demanding threat environment.”
The navy recently funded an upgrade on the LRSM, including missile hardware and software improvements to enhance targeting capabilities, bridging the gap until the HALO is operational.