Lockheed Martin, Netfires LLC Successfully Conduct Loitering Attack Missile Boost Vehicle Test
DALLAS, TX, 12-DEC-05 --
Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] conducted a successful Boost Test Vehicle (BTV) flight test of its Loitering Attack Missile (LAM) recently at Eglin Air Force Base, FL. This was the first flight test of the new square body LAM airframe, and preliminary data indicate all test objectives were achieved.
Test data from this flight will be used to validate analytical models of the new airframe’s aerodynamic properties and to prepare for additional flight tests early next year. The test series will include another BTV, a Control Test Vehicle and conclude with a Guided Test Vehicle, employing the rocket motor, flight controls, turbojet engine and Laser Detection and Ranging (LADAR) seeker.
Similar to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) NetFires predecessor, this new LAM body features more room for fuel, bigger wings and bigger fins, but the same Aerojet General Corporation annular rocket motor with eight nozzles. The fins were fabricated by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (Skunk Works), Palmdale, CA, using advanced low-cost production technology. The test flight's launcher was a collaborative Container Launch Unit (CLU), as it was provided by the Army’s NLOS-LS Project Office and fabricated by its Prototype Integration Facility.
“This test confirmed the compatibility of the booster to the new square body, which is key to carrying the required fuel load for LAM to loiter on-station for up to 30 minutes,” said Anne Johnson, director - LAM program at Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control. “This test complements recent successful tests of the warhead, turbojet and LADAR seeker, and further demonstrates that LAM is ready to move forward in its development phase.”
The NetFires LLC, a limited liability company formed by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon [NYSE: RTN], was established to develop the Non Line-Of-Sight - Launch System (NLOS-LS) consisting of the LAM, the Precision Attack Missile (PAM) and the CLU.
In operation, LAM is projected to loiter, locate, identify and destroy high-value mobile targets. It is a ground-launched, canistered artillery missile capable of increasing the warfighter’s area of influence through hunter-killer missions with automatic target recognition. It is an integral part of the Army’s Future Combat Systems and can be used with the current Modular Force.
LAM and other loitering munitions have achieved multiple successful flight tests with multiple airframe configurations. LAM’s LADAR seeker has been successfully demonstrated under previous DARPA NetFires and U.S. Air Force Low-Cost Autonomous Attack System (LOCAAS) programs. This technology will allow artillerymen to shift from shooting at a particular GPS spot (where an enemy may have been reported) to shooting to a suspected target location and then searching the general vicinity in the event the target has moved or was originally mis-targeted.