The Army is deciding how much farther to extend the range requirement for its Precision Strike Missile as the service plans to field the system in 2023.
The current range requirement on the missile is 310 miles, but in Oct. 2021, the Army conducted a test of PrSM that is believed to have exceeded the present requirement, originally reported by Army Times sister publication Defense News
America’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia has given the United States leeway to develop PrSM to fly farther than originally required.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and increased tensions in the Indo-Pacific – more attention has been placed on the potential to grow the missile’s range. While the European theater would be able to work with such distances, a longer range is required to be a decisive factor in the Pacific, said Col. Rory Crooks, project lead for PrSM.
Key U.S. allies have also agreed to purchase PrSMs.
Australia and the U.S. Army announced plans to develop precision missile capabilities, contributing $70 million to the $907 million PrSM program. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom plans to field PrSM in 2024 as a part of an upgrade to its M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System.
In Sept. 2021, the Army approved PrSM to move into the manufacturing and engineering development phase. Lockheed Martin was awarded two contracts to produce early operational PrSMs totaling more than $200 million.
The service plans to field the weapon in Fiscal Year 2023, while pulling in more capabilities later, including extended range and enhanced seekers. Land-Based Anti-Ship missile seekers are also expected to be integrated into PrSM in 2023.
Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.