Home Air US Air Force picks Raytheon for long-range standoff weapon development

US Air Force picks Raytheon for long-range standoff weapon development

AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile
US Air Force file photo of an AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile that will be replaced by LRSO

The US Air Force has selected Raytheon Technologies as the sole-source contractor for the development of the long-range standoff weapon (LRSO).

The LRSO cruise missile is part of the air force’s on-going nuclear recapitalization efforts and will replace the service’s legacy air-launched cruise missile.

The air force previously awarded two contracts for the LRSO technology maturation and risk (TMRR) phase, one to Raytheon and one to Lockheed Martin, in August 2017.

After an extensive evaluation of contractor programmatic and technical approach during the TMRR’s preliminary design reviews, the air force decided to focus on Raytheon’s design.

“LRSO will be a critical contributor to the air-launched portion of America’s nuclear triad,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles and Defense. “Providing a modernized capability to the US Air Force will strengthen our nation’s deterrence posture.”

“Our competitive TMRR phase, which included both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon as the prime contractors, enabled us to select a high-confidence design at this point in the acquisition process,” said Maj. Gen. Shaun Morris, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center commander and program executive officer for strategic systems.

“And this early off-ramp of a contractor is completely in line with the existing LRSO acquisition strategy, which included periodic reviews to assess contractor designs.”

“This is not a down-select per se; instead, we are reframing our relationship with Lockheed Martin to focus on specific technology maturation we believe either has future applicability for the final LRSO design or will reduce overall program risk,” said Elizabeth Thorn, AFNWC’s LRSO system program manager.

The US Air Force said communication is underway with the prime contractors and an orderly closeout process has commenced at the affected Lockheed Martin and supplier offices.

According to Raytheon, contract negotiations for the engineering and manufacturing development phase will start in fiscal year 2021. The contract award is anticipated in fiscal year 2022.