US air force summed up the results of the tender LRSO development, testing and production of strategic cruise missiles, which in the future will replace the AGM-86 ALCM. As writes Flightglobal, the results of the tender, completed early, the contract for the development and production of missiles received by the American company Raytheon.
Strategic cruise missiles ALCM was developed in the first half of the 1970’s and entered service with the US air force in 1982. The munition has a length of 6.3 metres and diameter of 0.6 meter. Weight 1.4 tons the missile can carry a nuclear warhead W80 weight of up to 0.9 to 1.3 tons depending on the version.
Strategic missile can fly at a speed of 0.7 Mach at the distance of 900 kilometers. The main carrier of cruise missiles ALCM today are strategic bombers B-52H Stratofortress. ALCM are considered already obsolete, so the American military and ordered the development of a new weapon.
A tender to develop a cruise missile LRSO was announced in 2017. To complete his expected no earlier than 2022. Initially the competition was attended by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. The decision on early completion of the tender and conclusion of contract with the winner was taken immediately after the protection projects of ammunition.
According to the plans of the U.S. air force, missiles ALCM will stand in service until 2030-ies, after which the weapons will begin to receive new LRSO. Carriers of these missiles will not only B-52H, but promising strategic bombers B-21 Raider.
At the end of 2017 , it became knownthat the American developers have created an improved version of a thermonuclear warhead W80-1 variable power. The modernization will significantly extend the life of warheads, taken into service in 1982.