USAF Selects Ellsworth AFB's Supersonic Bomber Fleet To Test Anti-Ship Stealth Missile

Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) authorized Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB), a United States Air Force base located about 10 miles northeast of Rapid City, South Dakota, to test the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), according to an AFGSC memo released June 12.

A Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) launches from an Air Force B-1B Lancer during flight testing in August 2013. (Source: DARPA)

The host unit at Ellsworth is the 28th Bomb Wing (28 BW), consisting of a fleet of Rockwell B-1 Lancers, a supersonic variable-sweep wing, heavy bomber, which is currently the first airframe to train and qualify on the LRASM. AFGSC said the 28 BW started training last week, as it is the first time the anti-ship cruise missile has gone from test to operational fielding.

“We are excited to be the first aircraft in the US Air Force to train on the weapon,” said Col. John Edwards, 28th Bomb Wing commander.

“This future addition to the B-1 bombers’ arsenal increases our lethality in the counter-sea mission to support combatant commanders worldwide,” Col. Edwards added.

The LRASM is an air-launched, stealthy anti-ship cruise missile developed by the USAF, Navy, and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The missile has sophisticated autonomous targeting capabilities via sensors that can identify an enemy vessel and destroy it with a 1,000-pound penetrating warhead.

Video: LRASM Air Launched Flight Testing

It had its first successful test in August 2013, air-launched from a B-1 bomber and destroyed a mock enemy vessel. The LRASM moved at twice the speed of standard acquisition programs, according to Aviation Week. The Pentagon authorized the Navy to put the LRASM into limited production as an operational weapon in February 2016, as an urgent stop-gap solution to the aging Harpoon anti-ship missile. The fielding of the missile started in 2018 on B-1 bombers and is expected to be added to McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet in 2019.

“It gives us the edge back in offensive anti-surface warfare,” Capt. Jaime Engdahl, head of Naval Air Systems Command’s precision-strike weapons office, told Aviation Week in early 2017.

A DARPA fact sheet said, “with the growth of maritime threats in anti-access/area denial environments, this semi-autonomous, air-launched anti-ship missile promises to reduce dependence on external platforms and network links in order to penetrate sophisticated enemy air-defense systems.”

To sum up, the Pentagon failed to modernize its anti-ship missiles in the last several decades, as China and Russia have recently gained a technological edge. The LRASM’s acquisition time from development to fielding was cut in half, indicating the urgent need to field this weapon. More than likely, the missile is headed on supersonic bombers to the South China Sea to deter further Chinese expansion of its weaponized islands.


ted41776 Fri, 06/29/2018 - 19:33 Permalink

is there a country out there that has a navy that is larger or more powerful than the US? whose ships are these designed to sink? or was this another one of those deals where someone's uncle claimed to know how to make anti ship weapons and swore they would be indispensable to our defense? because they aren't very effective against subs, you know, that pesky thing called physics gets in the way yet again. don't we have better things to spend money on, like studying and documenting mating habits of turtles or putting shrimp on treadmills?

Taint Boil Gaius Frakkin'… Sat, 06/30/2018 - 01:52 Permalink

It is a joke ...the joke is we are the only one who has a fleet of giant carriers also know as a huge targets. Our carrier group is only effective against goat roping cave dwellers in third world countries. Other countries have like one and it is only symbolic .... they cost 13 billion each and 6 million per day to operate. Russia / China can take these Goliaths out all day long ... the ROI for a million dollar anti-ship missile is huge. If even only one out of four of the missiles make it through - mission accomplished.

If one of these monstrosities is ever sent to the bottom there are going to be a lot of lower jaws that will need to be lifted off the floor.

In reply to by Gaius Frakkin'…

philipat . . . _ _ _ . . . Fri, 06/29/2018 - 20:20 Permalink

I wonder how much the MIC is skimming off on this great idea? The fact is that no other country relies on its navy to the same extent as the US and the US navy (because most other countries stay home and mind their own business so, other than nuclear submarines, have navies designed to protect their own borders, a/k/a Defense"), especially Carriers, is now completely vulnerable to Russian and Chinese hypersonic weapons. So it would seem this weapon is remarkable only in its 20/20 hindsight?

In reply to by . . . _ _ _ . . .

LaugherNYC philipat Fri, 06/29/2018 - 22:56 Permalink

The us got busy fighting muzzle terrorists who wanted to kill all the Chirstians, and believed that the Russians had finally, for once in their long pathetic history of self-immolation, grown up and were going to be a responsible partner in global affairs, so it focused on weaponry for retrograde camel fuckers. Then, Russia decided to go back to being a cunt, invading countries for terriorial and economic gain, and investing in fancy weapons to fight the US if it decided to intervene in their expansionist shenanigans 

So, faced with the slimy little East German station chief spook’s assfuckery, theyve had to refocus on advanced weapons for the end of the world. And here they thought a white Christian nation would forego the whole sick murderous tyrant shit — and guessed very very wrong.

No matter. If Russia can hold off on marching to the German border for a few years, DARPA and CalTech will churn out some overpriced gizmos that make the Russian gear obsolete and then they can start all over again.

In reply to by philipat

any_mouse LaugherNYC Sat, 06/30/2018 - 00:18 Permalink

Russia has never marched on the German border. Or the French border for that matter. The invaders always move eastward until forced to retreat, losing their empire status in the process.

The West wants what Russia has, more than the Russians want to occupy the West, their best customers.

Russia wants to price, and sell, its natural resources in a currency other than the petrodollar. That's Russia's crime against humanity. Desiring a free market. The Horror.

In reply to by LaugherNYC

truthalwayswinsout ted41776 Fri, 06/29/2018 - 21:57 Permalink

The Chinese have the largest navy in the world. They are also developing blue water capabilities. But they now have a network of fortified islands in the South China Sea and their goal is to have the ability to attack Taiwan in 2020 or there abouts.

With this weapon you can destroy a Chinese invasion fleet with little or no risk of any assets. It means that if China wants to become offensive, it will have to develop a more massive and expensive offensive capability that will cost them 100's of billions of dollars each year and still they would suffer unacceptable causalities.

What China should be worried about is not the US but Japan. Japan is building Fleet Carriers again and seems to be planning at least 4 and maybe 6 of them.

They also re-instituted their Imperial Marines.

In reply to by ted41776

Parrotile truthalwayswinsout Fri, 06/29/2018 - 23:06 Permalink

Well, China has a lot more than 4 - 6 DF-21 Carrier Killers.

As to "destroying a Chinese Invasion Fleet" - the 1940's are calling, Mate - China won't be using any such fleet until their air (and space) - based systems have "neutralised" any perceivable threat (which may or may not involve the assistance of the almost 5 million Chinese "Americans" living in the Mainland USA).

They will be relying on their current hypersonic technology developments to do the "heavy lifting" - and their acceptably long-range existing ASM technology - e.g. - their 290 NM range YJ-18 (which comes with a decent sized 300kg warhead), to tilt the odds well in their favour.

In reply to by truthalwayswinsout

LetThemEatRand Fri, 06/29/2018 - 19:36 Permalink

"with the growth of maritime threats in anti-access/area denial environments, this semi-autonomous, air-launched anti-ship missile promises to reduce dependence on external platforms and network links in order to penetrate sophisticated enemy air-defense systems."

Anti-access/area denial environments.  Gotta love military speak.

Yen Cross Fri, 06/29/2018 - 19:38 Permalink

  Why not "The Rod of God" with smart bomb package?  That thing would take out 4-5 ships with kinetic energy alone.

  I guess this shows how far behind the DoD actually is with hyper-sonic technology.

serotonindumptruck Winston Churchill Fri, 06/29/2018 - 20:23 Permalink

As opposed to current Russian anti-ship missile technology where the math and destructive yield might be easily calculated.

For example, the terminal velocity of a Russian SS-N-22 with a conventional warhead is approximately 2.3 Mach.

The missile weighs approximately 10,000 lbs (4,500 kg).

If this missile were to strike a US aircraft carrier, the kinetic energy delivered would be sufficient to render the platform totally inoperable, regardless of the warhead yield.

It would be similar to a point-blank shot to a person's skull from a .308 Winchester.

Now let's factor in the effects of a nuclear warhead yield on that same strike...

Maff is hard.

In reply to by Winston Churchill

Parrotile Yen Cross Fri, 06/29/2018 - 23:12 Permalink

The problem is getting "it" up there in the first place. The "Orbital Kinetic Weapon" proposed under Project Thor relied on a number of "tungsten telegraph poles" 20ft long, 1 ft diameter weighing about 9.5 TONNES each.

It takes a LOT of energy to get just the ONE to orbit, let alone all the other infrastructure needed to hold / aim / launch VERY heavy items. This was the main reason for termination of this project, "too much buck needed for too little bang".

In reply to by Yen Cross

chippers Fri, 06/29/2018 - 19:38 Permalink

Sometimes I wonder why a particular article shows up in ZH.  Other then that,  they are testing anti-ship shit from south dakota....wouldnt the testing be closer to reality it was done on say the ocean?

LaugherNYC A_Huxley Fri, 06/29/2018 - 23:10 Permalink

So you add the expense and logistical issues of fielding all the equipment and personnel on ships, including the untrivial costs of simply running the boats. You also get weather and high seas etc. And in the ocean, unless you are close in there’s the issue of surveillance.

Youd have to be an idiot to test on the open water until final stages.

In reply to by A_Huxley

any_mouse gregga777 Sat, 06/30/2018 - 00:35 Permalink

Methinks they flew from SDAK to the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada to do any testing. Secure, large facility. If device fails it doesn't disappear beneath the waves.

Just like testing any other stand off air launched weapon. Whether it strikes a target on or below the surface, either water or land, makes little difference.

Buildings can't change position, so there is that bit of added complexity to maritime warfare. If accuracy is already built in to handle winds aloft and thermals, etc. en route to target, it should not be a big stretch to adapt to a changing position and vector.


In reply to by gregga777

Alexander De Large chippers Fri, 06/29/2018 - 19:48 Permalink

Me and ZH are eerily similar, in that we are both 95% full of shit.

My work speaks for itself, but let us more closely examine ZeroHedge.

ZH shits on socialism constantly, but also consistently gripes about how fucking broke everyone is and how everything is unaffordable.

ZeroHedge purports to love Donuld Trump along with bald eagles and fireworks and baseball, but they are relentlessly reminding readers how Russia is better than us.

ZeroHedge claims to be a peace-loving anti-war publication, but they are always posting fake propaganda articles about iridium-powered hypersonic faster than light weapons that are able to nuke several countries and listen to your grandmother fart after having unprotected rough sex with her illegal alien caretaker.

ZeroHedge claims to believe in free-market capitalism, but if you want to give a faggot bum street corner hobo your leftover Thanksgiving turkey wing, you deserve for your stawk to be rendered worthless, Trump to impose tariffs on your suppliers, and your company to be broken up.

Basically, this site is run by cryptojews.

In reply to by chippers

gregga777 Alexander De Large Fri, 06/29/2018 - 20:13 Permalink

Basically, this site is run by cryptojews.

This site is an approved outlet for bitching by the powers that be. Were you not bitching here you might be out protesting in the streets. Or, God forbid, much worse, you might be out putting a cap in some politicians ear like they do South of the Rio Grande in Canada. And for all you liberals that can't stand Trump leave for Canada. It's due South and just across the Rio Grande River. The Canadians there will welcome you upon your arrival with open arms. 

In reply to by Alexander De Large

Thom Paine Alexander De Large Fri, 06/29/2018 - 21:02 Permalink

You just built a bunch of straw men to attack.

You reveal more about Your position than anything else.

And I wonder then, you want ZH to reflect CNN, NYT, WaPo, NBC -   you know, because think you 95% of Media being on the hate trump. socialist left is not enough?  Have to laugh - ZH has to play by Your rules - but the other MSM too bad.


AND what the fuck is wrong with attacking Socialism relentlessly - Socialism IS the ENEMY of the people - or haven't you noticed history.

In reply to by Alexander De Large

any_mouse Thom Paine Sat, 06/30/2018 - 00:44 Permalink

I'm trying to figure out where ADL (Anti Defamation League?) obtained the ZeroHedge Manifesto.

ZH exists to serve ads. Whatever keeps eyeballs clicking on the stories and view the ads, unless blocked, is ZH's "editorial" policy.

ZH criticizes "Socialism" because centrally controlled, socialist regulated markets and politics is all anyone has these days.

Criticism of the current reality brings in an audience that is otherwise under served in the digital ad space.

In reply to by Thom Paine

Thom Paine Alexander De Large Fri, 06/29/2018 - 21:09 Permalink

and here we have it - the basis of everything you want to attack ZH for - you're anti-semitic, you hate Jews.

So anything the YOU can construe as being on the same side of the argument that YOU think your 'hated jews' are, makes ZH cryptojews.

And WTF the fuck is this cryptojew thing you so obviously hate.

NObody understands wtf this cryptojew is and why you hate it so much. Where and when did you build this cryptojew.

So then are YOU a crypto-muslim, and this is why anything that looks like it doesn't attack jews is then supporting your defenition of jews?


In reply to by Alexander De Large