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Army Gives Lockheed $36 Million For Unitary Tactical Missiles

By | July 24, 2006

      The Army gave Lockheed Martin [LMT] $36 million for Army Tactical Missile System unitary product improvement missiles, the company announced.

      First flight of the improved system is expected in January 2008.

      The ATACMS Block IA Quick Reaction Unitary (QRU) Missile was combat proven in joint operations in Iraq, and is the latest addition to the current ATACMS family of munitions, according to Lockheed.

      Now, the goal is to add a multi-functional fuze/warhead system that is capable of executing air-burst, point detonate or delay missions.

      ATACMS was the first tactical surface-to-surface missile ever fired in combat by the Army during Operation Desert Storm, the 1991 conflict in the Persian Gulf region.

      During the war in Iraq, 456 of the missiles were fired.

      ATACMS is an all weather, long-range missile, with a high explosive, fragmentation, multifunctional warhead fired from the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) family of launchers, including the MLRS 270A1 launcher and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

      Separately, Lockheed unveiled a new high altitude, unmanned aerial demonstrator to reporters attending the Farnborough International Air Show.

      The announcement was part of a review of several Skunk Works projects highlighting technologies the company is exploring to enable technology for the future.

      “This UAV is an effort to better understand the flight dynamics of a tailless unmanned air system in support of our ongoing research and development work for the … Air Force’s future Long Range Strike Program as well as to field the next generation of structural composite concepts,” explained Frank Cappuccio, Lockheed executive vice president and general manager of advanced development programs and strategic planning.

      Developed in only 18 months, using internal funding, unmanned system P-175, or ‘Polecat,’ represents the key tenets for which the Skunk Works is known, according to the company.

      “It was specifically designed to verify three things: new, cost effective rapid prototyping and manufacturing techniques of composite materials; projected aerodynamic performance required for sustained high altitude operations; and flight autonomy attributes,” said Cappuccio.

      He added that the company also is exploring technologies to enable low boom, supersonic flight over land and global reach.

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