NAVAIR PEO U&W looks to double LRASM and sextuple Tomahawk production.
It was revealed on Monday that the service desired to ramp up procurement of the strike weapons at a Naval Aviation Systems Command (NAVAIR) briefing during Sea Air Space 2023 (SAS 2023). This follows the Navy’s recently released Fiscal Year 2024 budget, which focuses on the procurement of munitions.
Rear Admiral Stephen Tedford, the Program Executive Officer of Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons, highlighted the massive leaps in production and procurement that are being considered by NAVAIR. Bundling in the Navy with the Air Force, which uses a missile that LRASM is derived from called the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), procurement for a multi-year plan would double the current production rate of the missiles.
“We have authorities to get after multi-year procurements, LRASM will be on a multi-year. That’s coordinated with the Air Force because we both use LRASM and that’s combined with their JASSM buys and our LRASM buys, okay. In that case, we’re talking about increasing our production rates, doubling the annual production rates for LRASM year-to-year starting at 24.”
When asked by Naval News at SAS 2023 about this development, Dominic DeScisciolo, the LRASM Business Development Lead at Lockheed Martin, confirmed the doubling of production.
“Over the course of the multi-year we will double production from where we are today, which is a little over 500 combined LRASM and JASSM, to well over a thousand combined LRASM and JASSM.”
Dominic also talked about LRASM C3, an improved version that extends the range and “enhances the survivability” of the missile. C3 will further streamline the production process and cost in anticipation of the multi-year procurement process by the Navy.
While LRASM/JASSM procurements are to double, the Tomahawk cruise missile is being considered for a massive production and procurement increase by sixfold.
“For a platform like Tomahawk, we’re talking about increasing the production capacity for Tomahawk by sixfold. And I’m choosing my words carefully, by sixfold is what we’re trying to increase our Tomahawk production by.”
The reasoning behind this massive increase stems from a variety of factors, from updating previous iterations of Tomahawk to foreign military sales and procurement by other services.
“That’s not just to meet and reduce the amount of research that we have to get through the research backlog making IVs and Vs, but also our new production Block Vs, new production of Maritime Strike Tomahawk kit, as well as JMEWS, and also meets the capacity requirements of our FMS customer base that currently exists today and gives us some capacity for potential FMS customers in the future.”
It was acknowledged how drastic this increase in production and procurement is by Tedford, especially with the condition of the defense industrial base. Naval News could not get a comment from Raytheon, the manufacturer of the Tomahawk, at SAS 2023. However, Tedford did state that the Navy is “working very closely” with industry on this issue.
Ending off the segment of his brief on LRASM and Tomahawk, Tedford also recognized the need to have a consistent production line.
It’s very interesting if you listen to any of the testimony last week, especially from the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senator Collins, for me, made a comment that we have been operating our weapons production lines as a just-in-time production and her words were ‘We need to be just in case production capacity. And I couldn’t agree more.”