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USAF next-gen cruise missile programme advances to next phase

5th July 2021 - 12:18 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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LRSO will replace the AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile, pictured being loaded onto a USAF B-52H Stratofortress. (Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Lillian Miller)

Raytheon demonstrates full production readiness of the Long Range Stand Off missile under a new $2 billion contract.

The Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) air-launched cruise missile for the USAF is now in the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase, after sole contractor Raytheon Missiles and Defense obtained a $2 billion deal from the US Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

‘During the EMD phase, manufacturing processes will continue to mature and the manufacturing environment will be demonstrated and transitioned to a pilot line readiness state,’ the DoD announced on 1 July.

Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by February 2027.

‘The objective at the end of EMD is to demonstrate full production readiness,’ the DoD added. Shephard reported in April 2020 that each LRSO missile would cost $10 million to produce.

The nuclear-capable LRSO will replace the 1980s-vintage AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile. The new missiles could be launched from B-52, B-1, B-2 or B-21 bombers.

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