NetFires LLC Successfully Conducts Loitering Attack Missile Flight Test
DALLAS, TX, 10-MAY-06 --
Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] conducted a successful Control Test Vehicle (CTV) flight test of its Loitering Attack Missile (LAM) recently at Eglin Air Force Base, FL. This latest flight test of the new square body LAM airframe included a turbojet and demonstrated launch through transition to cruise.
A more extended cruise was hindered by fuel issues that were promptly identified, reported and addressed. One more flight test remains in the series to demonstrate LAM end-to-end performance.
During this flight, the LAM launched vertically from a container launch unit; maintained stability during rocket powered ascent using a fin-control actuation system and a commercial IMU; maintained stability during wing deployment; started a micro turbojet engine with integral electrical generator; executed a high-G maneuver to limit altitude; transitioned to cruise; established a commercial GPS fix; and maneuvered and navigated to the initial waypoint. The onboard telemetry subsystem provided real-time observation of all onboard operations including a nose mounted color TV camera recording the missile view through a clear glass nose dome.
Building on a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) NetFires predecessor, this new, innovative square-body LAM airframe features more room for fuel, bigger wings and bigger fins for extended loiter time and improved control, a more fuel efficient turbojet and an Aerojet annular rocket motor.
The airframe, seeker, electronics, fuel system and software suite were designed and integrated by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas, TX. Key subsystems of LAM included a miniature turbojet from Technical Directions Inc., in Ortonville, MI, a motor that shares heritage with an air-launched predecessor; a control actuation system from Moog, Inc., in Buffalo, NY, with precision electro-mechanical actuators common with the Precision Attack Missile (PAM); and control surfaces made using advanced low-cost production technology at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (Skunk Works), in Palmdale, CA.
The test flight’s launcher was a collaborative Container Launch Unit (CLU), provided by the NLOS-LS Project Office and fabricated by its Prototype Integration Facility (PIF).
“The continuing successes of the LAM Pre-PDR Flight Test series are very encouraging,” said Col. Doug Dever, project manager of NLOS-LS. “LAM offers attractive potential to Future Combat and Army Modular Forces.”
“Meeting Army operational requirements is the driving issue for our company,” said Ric Magness, president of the NetFires LLC. “The successes of this test are further evidence that LAM and CLU will meet operational requirements.”
The remaining test in this five-flight series will be a Guided Test Vehicle (GTV) with a turbojet and LADAR seeker. The GTV will be a complete missile system and will be flown against a real target in an end-to-end demonstration from launch through search to target identification and attack.
“LAM executed all phases of crucial launch-to-cruise transition, and this flight further prepares us for the GTV mission,” said Anne Johnson, director - LAM program at Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control. “The Lockheed team working with our NLOS-LS project office is proving the maturity of hunter-killers for Army artillery. LAM is changing the paradigm for artillery, ushering in turbojet powered loitering munitions with extraordinary range, automatic target recognition and terminal-seeker precision lethality.”
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, PAM and the CLU.
In operation, LAM is the loitering capability of NLOS-LS. It is projected to loiter, locate, identify and destroy fleeting high-value mobile targets at extended range. Its range and unique ability to search large areas for moving or poorly located targets then decisively engage these targets will provide the Army an artillery solution virtually independent of target location error. LAM is a responsive cruising artillery munition, ideal for hunter-killer missions where automatic target recognition finds and identifies precisely the target of interest. If the network is active, it can report these targets and be controlled by a man in the loop. NLOS-LS is an integral part of the Army’s Future Combat Forces and Modular Forces.
Lockheed Martin-designed loitering munitions have achieved many 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. Loitering munitions with ATR technology will provide early entry forces with responsive artillery to hold moving or stationary enemy forces at risk anytime anywhere in the area of interest.