Lockheed Martin has unveiled P44, a company-funded effort to demonstrate a long range strike missile for quick precision strike against moving surface targets under any battlefield conditions without minimum range limitations.
P44, a seven-inch diameter 220-pound missile with an effective range from zero to more than 70 kilometres, is a next generation missile system. It can be launched from an MLRS multiple launch platform, including HIMARS, the newest generation of highly transportable multiple rocket launch platforms.
‘We believe that by coupling mature missile and seeker technology with the combat-proven HIMARS launcher, we can offer an affordable, low-risk, fast, precision-strike solution to the moving target problem, without additional equipment or force structure,’ said Glenn Kuller, director of Tactical Missiles Advanced Programs for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
P44 was designed to respond to a gap in the ability to effectively engage and neutralise rapidly proliferating long-range artillery, particularly mobile rocket launchers.
‘This gap against fleeting targets is difficult to fill using projected munitions. However, merging a fast boost-sustain motor, an adverse weather terminal seeker and HIMARS, will offer the army a badly needed solution,” added Kuller. ‘With P44, aggressors cannot hide behind the weather, nor can they escape.’
With wings and fins folded, 10 P44s can be packaged into MLRS rocket pods with considerable margins for growth. The four-mode P44 has Global Positioning System-aided inertial guidance; carries a mature tri-mode terminal seeker with semi-active laser (SAL) for designated targets; Doppler millimetre-wave radar (MMW) for weather penetration and detection of moving targets; and cooled imaging infrared (IIR) for imaging and discrimination.
The projected warheads for P44 are either a 28-pound Hellfire II Metal Augmented Charge (MAC) or a 17-pound shaped charge with precursor.
Following successful wind tunnel tests and static firing of rocket motors, a Lockheed Martin P44 Ballistic Test Vehicle was successfully flown at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on February 15, 2007.
The missile was launched from a surrogate HIMARS launcher. A P44 Control Test Vehicle (CTV) is planned later this spring that Lockheed says will further validate simulations and models. The CTV flight test will manoeuvre the airframe and confirm rocket motor performance and aeroballistics.