The US Army has awarded a $116.4m contract to Raytheon for technological maturation and risk reduction phase of the long-range precision fires (LRPF) programme.
Raytheon has developed new DeepStrike missile for the army’s LRPF requirement.
Under this phase, the LRPF missile components will undergo testing to ensure the design is ready for engineering and manufacturing development and live-fire demonstrations by the end of 2019.
Raytheon advanced missile systems product line vice-president Thomas Bussing said: "Raytheon can develop, test, and field this new capability and deliver it to the army ahead of current expectations to replace aging weapons.
"LRPF gives soldiers on the battlefield overmatch capability against adversaries."
With an ability to engage fixed land targets that are 499km away, DeepStrike is intended to replace the tactical missile system currently in service with the army.
Raytheon’s DeepStrike missile will integrate with the M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS rocket launchers.
The launcher can fire two missiles from a single weapons pod, reducing costs and increasing capacity.
According to the company, the missile is fitted with a more superior guidance system than the current weapon, which is rapidly becoming obsolete.
The longer-range weapon, which is based on advanced technologies, will allow the US Army to field twice as many missiles on its existing launch vehicles.
The US Army can upgrade DeepStrike in the future to increase its versatility for future battlefield requirements, Raytheon stated.