Precision Long Range Fires was established as the top priority in the US Army’s 2019 Modernisation Strategy with the aim of enhancing its capabilities for countering opposing peer and near-peer Anti-Access Area Denial (A2AD) defence in depth.
The primary objective is in achieving substantial increases in range through accelerated development programmes aimed at fielding an initial capability (IOC) by 2023. In a Global Force Next panel Brigadier General John Rafferty directing the Futures Command team outlined its progress in achieving this performance in four projects.
In December 2020 the Extended Range Artillery Cannon, a longer tube M109 self-propelled howitzer, demonstrated a 70km range in tests.
Lockheed Martin’s Gaylia Campbell vice president Fires shared that its Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) had concluded four successful firing tests in four months on the 499km plus missile.
In addition, the Strategic Long-Range Cannon, a science and technology (S&T) project is on course for a 2023 prototype demonstration.
Robert Strider, deputy in the Army Project Office stated that the Long Range Hypersonic Missile, being developed with the Navy, is moving toward expected delivery of missiles and launchers to a unit for test and evaluation in September 2021.
These efforts are directed toward filling the Army’s intended contribution to Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). BGen Rafferty reflected, “the objective is for these surface-to-surface fires to reduce the enemy integrated air defences and long-range artillery that make up that layered standoff of A2/AD, thereby providing the opening for our air power.”
Integration of these deep-strike capabilities into the broader tactical, operational and strategic battle and their coordination with not only the other US services but with coalition partners have been identified as additional challenge to be addressed.