YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz: The October test flight of the Army’s Precision Strike Missile flew just over 499km, or 310 miles, before the service lost contact with it, according to Army Futures Command’s top general.
“We say 499-plus — we lost telemetry at 499.2 [km],” Gen. Mike Murray, commanding general of Futures Command, said Tuesday at the Project Convergence media day. “So we’re confident we get past 499 and probably further if we hadn’t lost telemetry.”
The flight of the Lockheed Martin-made weapon, called PrSM, beyond the 499km (310-mile) threshold would be significant because it breaks a previously restricted distance barrier set by the now-expired Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
Murray’s specificity also clarifies some confusion surrounding the test results last month. Ahead of the Oct. 13 flight test, a Lockheed Martin executive in October described the test as a max-range test, suggesting 499km was the goal, but afterward the company would only say that the “successful” test saw the PrSM missile fly beyond 400km, a new flight record at the time. The missile was fired from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California out into the Pacific Ocean.
The Precision Strike Missile is part of the Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires portfolio, the service’s top modernization priority. The missile is supposed to replace the service’s Cold War-era Army Tactical Missile System, which has a maximum range of 300km, or 186 miles. The program is scheduled for fielding in fiscal 2023 with the delivery around 20 missiles.
The PrSM program is led by the Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional team and Program Executive Office Missiles and Space. Spokespeople for PEO Missiles and Space and Lockheed Martin confirmed the details of the flight test but declined to comment further.
PrSM participated at Project Convergence 21, including the launch of two missiles from the same High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launcher. Murray told reporters during a roundtable that the Project Convergence PrSM flights didn’t stress the missile’s max ranges because of “range limitations” at Yuma Proving Ground, Murray said.