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Lockheed Martin at forefront of long-range precision fires systems

When it comes to the Army's No. 1 modernization priority, long-range precision fires, Lockheed Martin is very much in the forefront.

"Absolutely," said Gaylia Campbell, corporate vice president for precision fires and combat maneuver systems. "That's an area where we've owned that mission for 40 years."

The trade expo that accompanies the annual Fires Conference would not be complete without its old standbys  Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Raytheon, to name but a few.

Lockheed Martin is noted for highly reliable weapons systems like the Global Positioning System Multiple Launch Rocket System (abbreviated as GMLRS but pronounced "glimmers") and the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).

Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) crewmen who fought in Operation Desert Storm may have fond memories of the long-range ATACMS. This is a surface-to-surface missile that, thanks to a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), is still being fired today from either the tracked M270A1 MLRS or its wheeled counterpart, the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

Campbell said both GMLRS and ATACMS "are extremely reliable and they're being used in amazing quantities around the world. GMLRS a lot of times is called by the soldiers a long-range sniper rifle because of its accuracy. We've been real pleased that we've been able to support the warfighter like we have for so long.

"Our next iteration of that is the new PrSM (pronounced "prism"), the Precision Strike Missile," said Campbell, who has prototypes on display at the expo. "And we're really excited. I think that we're really getting the right solution for the warfighter at the right price." 

In recent years Lockheed Martin has been working to get a replacement for the aging ATACMS stockpile by sometime around 2022. The first modernized Tactical Missile System (TACMS) was delivered on Sept. 28, 2016, with updated guidance electronics and added capability to defeat area targets using a unitary warhead (as opposed to cluster munitions), without leaving behind unexploded ordnance.

"TACMS today goes out around 300 kilometers. And so PrSM is the next generation, which they're looking to go 499, you know, to be treaty-compliant. But go the maximum distance that we can," Campbell explained.

Another advantage to PrSM would be an increased load-out. Right now, the M270A1 can carry two TACMS and HIMARS can carry one. At almost half the size of TACMS and with two missiles per pod, PrSM would double that.

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