Lockheed Martin Successfully Completes First Test Flight of Netfires LAM Prototype
DALLAS, TX, November 11th, 2002 -- Lockheed Martin successfully conducted the first test flight of a prototype NetFires Loitering Attack Missile (LAM) at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on Friday. The LAM vertically launched flawlessly, transitioned to stable flight and performed several maneuvers during the short flight test. Test objectives were successfully achieved. The Lockheed Martin-designed LAM was flown without a Laser Radar (LADAR) seeker or warhead. LAM is envisioned to be a principal non line-of-sight weapon system for the Future Combat System (FCS).
"The NetFires LAM will fulfill an important 'seek-and-destroy' mission for future battlefield commanders," said Ron Abbott, vice president - Tactical Missiles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "This test flight demonstrates that the design and flight characteristics of the LAM and launcher are on track. We look forward to flight tests with LADAR seekers in the spring of 2003."
NetFires LAM is a DARPA-managed, DARPA/Army-funded program demonstrating technology for an affordable, expendable, autonomous loitering artillery munition launched from an affordable, lightweight, platform-independent vertical launcher compatible with legacy, interim or the Objective Force.
A solid rocket motor vertically launched the 7-inch, 100-pound missile from a closed breach canister mounted in a Lockheed Martin prototype launcher. Control surfaces and a pivoting wing deployed as planned as the missile began its programmed assent-phase roll and pitch maneuver. Protective covers on the forward dome, scoring camera and turbojet inlet were ejected properly and engine start sequence began as scheduled.
Turbojet ignition sequence completed approximately five seconds after launch, and the engine came up to speed as the prototype approached apogee. For the next eight minutes, the LAM prototype executed preprogrammed maneuvers over the Eglin test range, demonstrating impressive stability and validating aerodynamic performance, navigation and autopilot performance design parameters.
Subsequent tests on additional prototypes will utilize the LADAR seeker with automatic target recognition (ATR) algorithms and radio data links. Over the course of the next year, Lockheed Martin will demonstrate NetFires LAM autonomous launch, loiter, wide area search, redirection en-route, automatic target recognition and simulated attack of selected targets. Although live warheads are not included in the DARPA program, test missiles will snap photographs of the intended target as the missile passes the warhead fusing and aiming point.
When completely developed, NetFires LAMs will enable the Army, with a single shot, to search large areas for specific targets or identify exact locations (and types) of targets encountered. The networked feature of LAM will provide for redirection in-flight and downlinked images of targets discovered. LAM is envisioned as an autonomous, loitering hunter-killer with a 200+ kilometer range and a 45-minute flight time. It will include a LADAR seeker with ATR, and up to an eight-pound multimode warhead. Prospective LAM targets would be moving or stationary missile launchers, mobile air defense equipment, artillery, tanks and armored personnel carriers.