Lockheed Martin Combines Systems to Develop New Naval Munition for Littoral Defense and Near-shore Bombardment
(Source : Lockheed Martin ; issued April 12, 2001)


AKRON, OHIO---Lockheed Martin's Akron and Dallas units have combined their weapons systems expertise to offer the Vertical Launch Autonomous Attack System (VLAAS) to navies for ship defense and surf zone bombardment during operations in littoral regions. Navies currently possess limited stand-off capabilities to defend against fast patrol boats and to deliver time-critical, precision-strike ashore. VLAAS would perform both missions.

VLAAS is the result of configuring the vertical launch payload delivery system, supplied by Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems, Akron, Ohio, to accept the Low-Cost Autonomous Attack System (LOCAAS) munition, now in development at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas.

"Extending the capabilities of the vertical launch payload delivery system by loading it with other munitions gives navies an already qualified booster system that integrates into the existing Mk-41 vertical launching system. Our engineers have demonstrated the compatibility of this vertical launch and LOCAAS combination to the in-place launching hardware and fire control systems," said Chuck Carlise, director-business development tactical systems at Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems in Akron, Ohio.

The proven vertical launch ASROC rocket motor and guidance system would boost LOCAAS into a ballistic flight, extending the range of the onboard munitions for surface attack and ship protection. With its guidance system and maneuverability, LOCAAS munitions would select high-value targets to attack. LOCAAS can loiter over a 25-nmi2 flight pattern at a speed of 215 knots.

LOCAAS, a guided and powered munition, has a range of more than 100 nautical miles. It was designed to detect and destroy mobile land targets. Once released, LOCAAS acquires global positioning data, flies to a target area and then searches the target area for high-value targets.

LOCAAS can either acquire a target for immediate attack or loiter above the area until a suitable target is identified. LOCAAS has an inertial navigation system/global positioning system, automatic target recognition, and a programmable multimode warhead.

VLAAS would give ship commanders an urgent-attack capability and establish an umbrella of loitering munitions to protect ships when threatened by fast-attack patrol boats. When dispersed from VLAAS, LOCAAS munitions would loiter over an area, acquire a target, and then attack it by powered flight and with guided accuracy.

"The initial LOCAAS design was for aircraft delivery. However, this application for naval defense leverages our work with munition dispensers, and simply uses another proven launching system to give navies a better solution for a very real threat. The system will work as well for navies as it will for air forces," said Al Carney, director-business development for naval munitions, at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas.

The same vertical launch payload delivery system is in use as an antisubmarine warfare weapon. Aegis-class ships equipped with the Mk-41 vertical launching systems have the capability to fire Vertical Launch Antisubmarine (VLA) missiles, which deliver torpedoes at ship-standoff ranges to counter submarines. Immediately after determining a fire control solution, VLAs are launched from the vertical launching system without any ship maneuvering to provide 360-degree engagement radius.

Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems, Akron, Ohio, designs and develops undersea and antisubmarine weapons systems, lighter-than-air surveillance systems, simulation and training systems, digital image processing systems, guidance systems, and ship defense and electronic combat systems.

Located in Dallas, Tex.; Orlando, Fla.; and Sunnyvale, Calif., Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control develops, manufactures and supports advanced combat, missile, rocket and space systems. The company is organized in seven program/mission areas: Strike Weapons, Air Defense, Anti-Armor, Naval Munitions, Fire Control and Sensors, Fire Support and Product Development.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services. The corporation's core businesses are systems integration, space, aeronautics, and technology services.

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