US defence prime contractors vying for the contract to build the nuclear-capable Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) missile that will replace the US Air Force's (USAF's) AGM-86 Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) expect the service to issue a final request for proposal (RfP) in May or June, a Lockheed Martin official said on 15 March.
"We've already had two or three [draft RfPs] and expect a final [one] in May or June and an award next year," Frank St John, vice-president of Lockheed Martin's Tactical Missiles business, told IHS Jane's during a briefing at a company-sponsored media day.
Four prime contractors - Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin - are bidding for two Technical Maturation Risk Reduction contracts, according to St John.
He added that he expects each company to offer a unique technology solution. "Getting four prime contractors to work on something common is challenging, so I wouldn't be surprised if people went in different directions in the end," he said.
Lockheed Martin will draw heavily on lessons from its AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile (JASSM) for its LRSO offering, he noted. However, the weapon will be an entirely new design not based on any legacy system.
"The requirements are such that nothing we have would fit that bill," St John said. "But I will say that a lot of the lessons that we've learned over the years on JASSM - in terms of survivability, in terms of aircraft integration, mission planning, and the like - are all things that are brought to bear in that competition."