US Navy has decided to integrate the AGM-158C Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) into the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol reconnaissance aircraft for which it has awarded Boeing a $74 million contract for the development of the software and ancillary hardware necessary for the integration of the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile onto the P-8A aircraft for the Navy.

The P-8 fleet worldwide including the Indian Navy is currently armed with AGM-84 Harpoon cruise missiles and Mk54 antisubmarine torpedoes but US Navy is worried that in a GPS-denied environment these weapons won’t work properly this is where the LRASM, a derivative of the Air Force’s AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Strike Missile-Extended Range cruise missile, fills an air-launch capability gap and provides flexible, long-range, advanced anti-surface capability against high-threat maritime targets.

LRASM reduces dependency on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links, and GPS navigation in electronic warfare environments. Semi-autonomous guidance algorithms will allow it to use less-precise target cueing data to pinpoint specific targets in the contested domain.

LRASM comes in Two variants, 1,100 kg Air launched LRASM with 450 kg blast-fragmentation penetrator warhead and Ship-launched LRASM with booster (2,000 kg) and 450 kg blast-fragmentation penetrator warhead. DARPA states its range is greater than 370 km but U.S Based Analysts estimate that the actual range of the LRASM is to be around 560 km.

LRASM Work on the order is expected to be completed in October 2024 and adapted for all other P8 fleets by 2026. Each Missile cost is estimated to be around $3 Million per unit and it will eventually find its way into all other operators of the P-8 aircraft that including the Indian Navy that has the second-largest fleet of 12 aircraft outside of the US Navy in the world and has clearance to procure six more aircraft in near future.

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