The U.S. Air Force has announced that the service branch will continue the Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) Weapon’s development with Raytheon Technologies as a sole-source contractor, the Air Force reported on Monday.
“Our competitive TMRR phase, which included both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon as the prime contractors, enabled us to select a high-confidence design at this point in the acquisition process,” said Maj. Gen. Shaun Morris, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center commander and program executive officer for strategic systems.
The LRSO cruise missile will play a critical role in the development of the Air Force’s on-going nuclear recapitalization efforts. The Air Force previously awarded two contracts for the LRSO Technology Maturation and Risk (TMRR) phase, one to Raytheon Company and one to Lockheed Martin, in Aug. 2017.
The LRSO cruise missile is a strategic weapon that will replace the service’s legacy Air-Launched Cruise Missile. Raytheon Technologies will help the Air Force develop its existing LRSO acquisition strategy, including periodic reviews to assess contractor designs.
The LRSO program office has announced the development of plans to pivot to a sole-source environment. The program will also explore opportunities to redirect funding to critical areas and potentially move some activities into the TMRR phase currently scheduled for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase, including flight tests.
“I am confident in the program office’s ability to execute the next phase’s contract negotiations in a single-source environment and maintain schedule and affordability,” Morris said. “We are committed to acquiring an affordable LRSO weapon system and we have exceptional cost and design insight into both contractors’ strategies, due to our progress with the acquisition reviews and the cost-capability trades.”
The initial contract award in Aug. 2017 was awarded to help the service branch modernize the air-based leg of the nuclear triad. The LSRO weapon will enhance the Air Force’s ability to develop advanced weapons. Each company was awarded a contract of approximately $900 million, with an approximate 54-month period of performance.
The LRSO program office, located at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is part of AFNWC’s Air Delivered Capabilities Directorate. Headquartered at Kirtland AFB, AFNWC is responsible for synchronizing all aspects of nuclear materiel management on behalf of Air Force Materiel Command, in direct support of Air Force Global Strike Command. The center has more than 1,300 personnel assigned to 18 locations worldwide.
“LRSO will be a critical contributor to the air-launched portion of America’s nuclear triad,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles and Defense. “Providing a modernized capability to the U.S. Air Force will strengthen our nation’s deterrence posture.”
Contract negotiations for the engineering and manufacturing development phase, with a strong focus on schedule realism, affordability, and cost-capability trades, will start in fiscal year 2021. The contract award is anticipated in fiscal year 2022.
About Raytheon Technologies
Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide. With 195,000 employees and four industry-leading businesses ― Collins Aerospace Systems, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Raytheon Missiles & Defense ― the company delivers solutions that push the boundaries in avionics, cybersecurity, directed energy, electric propulsion, hypersonics, and quantum physics. The company, formed in 2020 through the combination of Raytheon Company and the United Technologies Corporation aerospace businesses, is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.