Under a $1.2 billion contract awarded on Friday, Lockheed Martin has been tasked with delivering hypersonic missiles to the Navy and Army. These missiles are compatible with the Navy’s Zumwalt-class destroyers, and are part of the hypersonic weapon program that Lockheed Martin is overseeing as the integrator.
The program, which the Navy refers to as Conventional Prompt Strike and the Army refers to as Long Range Hypersonic Weapon, employs a common round but uses different launchers for each service.
As per a statement released by the company, Lockheed Martin is set to provide the Navy with launcher systems, weapon control, integration work, and all-up rounds to link the hypersonic missiles with the Zumwalt destroyers, as specified in the recently awarded $1.2 billion contract.
In order to support these missiles, which require launchers that are much larger than the typical Mk-41 vertical launching system on other surface ships, the Navy has already granted a contract to HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding to modify the first-in-class Zumwalt.
The shipyard expects to complete the modifications by the end of 2025, following which the Navy will begin testing the integration between the ship and the weapon system. Furthermore, the Navy plans to equip some Virginia-class attack submarines with Conventional Prompt Strike later in the decade.
Under the recently awarded contract, signed on February 17th, Lockheed Martin has been tasked with the provision of additional rounds and cannisters for the Army, which plans to equip truck-based launchers with the weapon system later this year. If all options are exercised, the contract could amount to more than $2.2 billion.
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In a statement released on the same day, Steve Layne, the Vice President of Hypersonic Strike Weapon Systems at Lockheed Martin, stated that the company is already making progress with the early design work as they continue to enhance hypersonic strike capability for the US.
The contract also includes engineering development, long lead material, systems integration, and special tooling and equipment to aid missile production.
The Navy’s budget for fiscal year 2023 incorporates a sum of $1.2 billion for the research and development of the Conventional Prompt Strike program, which includes additional funds appropriated by Congress to facilitate further flight testing.