Raytheon has tested an advanced warhead for its DeepStrike surface-to-surface missile, moving the weapon closer to a maiden flight, the company announced on 22 May.

DeepStrike is Raytheon's candidate for the US Army's Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) programme, which will replace the 1970s-designed Tactical Missile System, rapidly approaching the end of its service life. During the arena test, experts at the National Technical Systems testing facility detonated the warhead inside a controlled environment and determined it exceeds Army performance requirements based on the mass and distribution of fragments.

"This test, on the heels of our successful preliminary design review for DeepStrike, shows how quickly we are moving to deliver this much-needed capability to ground troops," commented Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems Vice President, Dr Thomas Bussing. "With our advanced technology and expertise in missile design and development, Raytheon is uniquely positioned to provide the Army with the best possible, long-range surface-to-surface missile."

Featuring an innovative, two-in-the-pod design and other advances, Raytheon's new, long-range precision strike missile will fly farther (60-499km), faster and offer double the firepower at half the cost. It is also more manoeuvrable and has a modular, open architecture that simplifies system upgrades. DeepStrike offers the Army the opportunity to restore overmatch on the battlefield.

The recent warhead test moves the DeepStrike programme closer to its first test flight. (Photo: National Ordnance and Ballistic Test Center)

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