The Precision Strike Missile is the United States’ newest post-Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty missile. It is the Army’s first foray into a new class of previously prohibited weapons.
Lockheed Martin announced on Thursday that the Precision Strike Missile completed an important test this week. A Precision Strike Missile com “completed its longest flight to date, exceeding maximum threshold, with the U.S. Army yesterday at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB), California,” Lockheed Martin said in a press release. The flight occurred somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.
“Firing from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) launcher, the (Precision Strike Missile) flew an extended range mission over the Pacific Ocean.” Though the Precision Strike Missile can only target stationary targets on land, the missile will reportedly have a later ability to strike moving targets on land and at sea. A video from Lockheed Martin covering the Precision Strike Missile’s characteristics can be seen here and describes how the Army could deploy the missiles.
Since the United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019, the United States is no longer bound to the INF treaty stipulations. The INF banned land-based ballistic and cruise missiles and missile launchers with ranges of 500 to 1,000 kilometers and 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers.
Although Lockheed Martin did not specify precisely how long the Precision Strike Missile flew in its press release, it is possible and even likely that the missile’s range falls somewhere within the old prohibited ranges. Lockheed Martin’s PrSM page says the missile’s flight profile is in the 60 to 499-kilometer range.
Lockheed Martin describes the missile as a “new surface-to-surface weapon system (that) will deliver enhanced capabilities to attack, neutralize, suppress and destroy targets using missile-delivered indirect fires out to 499+ kilometers,” and “provides the Joint Force Commander with increased range, lethality, survivability and missile load out. These enhanced capabilities are critical to the successful execution of Fires in support of Multi-Domain Operations.”
“The Precision Strike Missile continues to validate range and performance requirements,” said Paula Hartley, vice president of Tactical Missiles at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Achieving this long-range milestone for the baseline missile demonstrates PrSM’s capability to meet our customer’s modernization priorities on a rapid timeline.”
The test could mean the United States’ newest post-INF Treaty missile is a class of newer, longer-range missiles that they previously would not have been able to put into service.
Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and Defense Writer with the National Interest. He lives in Berlin and covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, focusing on American foreign policy, European security, and German society.