- Jun 3, 2011
- Reaction score
LRASM, as the USN currently envisions it, depends on having a carrier or P-8 on hand at all times. LRASM has far more range, and is almost certainly cheaper, than SM-6. It's also far more survivable against enemy surface ships than Tomahawk. Tomahawk isn't going to be worth much in that department as they're not stealthy at all and will pretty much be picked off like shooting fish in a barrel. LRASM on B-1Bs would be awesome but it appears that development is token at best. They may have already cancelled those plans.LRASM production is tied to JASSM-ER production and these go hand in hand (hence the current state of inventory). The US Navy has drawn a pretty clear and logical line as far as what it is acquiring that can strike surface targets. LRASM as an air-launched weapon with the F-18E/F's and P-8A's being the two platforms for now. Perhaps the F-35C's later. For VLS launches there is the Block V Tomahawk as a multi-mission (with seeker eventually) subsonic option, and the SM-6 1A and 1B as the high speed options. The two offer a good combination. The Tomahawk is a Navy program so it dictates the production rates and the rate at which the Block IV's are upgraded to V. They are also capable of striking land and maritime targets. The SM-6 IB is going to be a high speed (Mach 5) weapon so brings in a totally different capability. So I feel they are better with this combination than trying to integrate the LRASM into the MK41. Both are near-mid term capabilities (2023-2025 induction). NSM arms the SSC fleet and perhaps the MH-60 fleet down the road. That is a pretty good portfolio of weapons for the near to medium term as things like THOR-ER and other R&D efforts are invested in at the OSD level. The biggest value the LRASM brings is via its integration with the USAF bomber fleet and to a lesser extent the Navy P-8 fleet. Just my 2 cents.