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U.S. NLOS-LS Misses Four of Six Shots in Testing

Feb. 22, 2010 - 03:45AM   |  
By KATE BRANNEN   |   Comments
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The U.S. Army's Non Line-of-Sight Launch System's (NLOS-LS) Precision Attack Missile failed to hit its target four out of six times during recent testing, according to a testing document.

The six test shots took place at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., between Jan. 26 and Feb. 5 and were part of a flight-limited user test for the system, Army spokesman Paul Mehney confirmed.

Test missiles failed to hit a moving tank 20 kilometers away, a moving infantry vehicle 10 kilometers away, a stationary tank 30 kilometers away, and a stationary truck 35 kilometers away. It missed the infantry vehicle by 20 meters, and the truck by 25 kilometers.

The missile failed to hit its target both times it relied solely upon its infrared seeker, the document also states.

The missiles did hit two of their targets, a stationary tank and a moving infantry fighting vehicle, both 15 kilometers away. For the moving vehicle, the missile used its laser-anoint mode, and for the stationary tank, the missile relied on its laser-designate mode, according to the document.

The tests were conducted by soldiers from the fires battalion of the 1st Armored Division's 5th brigade, Mehney said in an e-mail. The independent test data collection and observation was carried out by the Army's Operational Test Command, he added.

"The Army is currently evaluating test data and observations, the results are required as part of the March 2010 Interim Defense Acquisition Board review as outlined in the Dec. 22, 2009 Increment 1 [low-rate initial production acquisition decision memorandum]," said Mehney.

In March, Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter will review the results of the limited user test, including the Army's findings from its investigation into the missile failures.

The NLOS-LS Precision Attack Missiles (PAM) are slated to cost $466,000 apiece in 2011, according to budget documents submitted to Congress Feb. 1.

An ongoing Army precision munitions portfolio review is looking at scaling back the final number of PAM missiles purchased and possibly launching a new program to develop a cheaper alternative weapon.

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