The Line-of-sight Antitank (LOSAT) system developed by Lockheed Martin successfully completed engineering development flight test-1 (EDF-1) at White Sands Missile range, NM. The LOSAT system fired a kinetic energy missile (KEM) more than three kilometers down range and intercepted a M-60 tank that was used as a target. Throughout the short duration flight, the missile received timed updates from the system's fire unit. All test objectives were achieved.
This was the first guided flight of a LOSAT KEM missile since 1996, when the US Army cancelled the armored gun system, and LOSAT was transitioning from a Bradley fighting vehicle as the launch platform. The cancellation required LOSAT to move to the more agile HMMWV platform. The improved system is now more robust and provides the war fighter with a more mobile capability that can deliver overwhelming lethality against advanced armor, active protection systems and bunkers. LOSAT fills an urgent operational requirement for overmatching capability in the light forces. The program is managed by the kinetic energy missile project management office (PMO) in Huntsville, AL.
Following EDF, the advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) program will transition from contractor test flights to government controlled production qualification testing (PQT). Over the next 10 months, the program will fire 18 missiles during PQT flight tests. A low rate initial production (LRIP)-1 decision is expected in the fiscal year 2004.
In addition to system testing at White Sands missile range, 16 members of A Company, 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, NC, are currently at the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control facilities in Grand Prairie, TX, conducting crew training that includes supportability, logistics, engaging targets, maintenance and standing operating procedures. Members of the 511th have been involved in the development of the system since the beginning of the program and participated in the early soldier involvement (ESI) program that incorporates user comments and improvements as the system evolves.
The LOSAT weapon system provides a high volume of extremely lethal and accurate missile fire that is effective against heavy armor systems at ranges exceeding tanks' main gun ranges. LOSAT consists of kinetic energy missiles and a second-generation FLIR/video acquisition sensor mounted on an air-mobile, heavy HMMWV chassis. The LOSAT weapon system will help remedy the forced-entry/early-entry force lethality shortfall against heavy armor because it can deploy with both forces.
The key advantages of the LOSAT system are the tremendous overmatch lethality of the KEM, which defeats all predicted future armored combat vehicles, and its deployability. The LOSAT weapon system also provides increased survivability for the operator and countermeasure effectiveness. It operates to the maximum range of direct fire combat engagements and provides dramatically increased rates of fire and enhanced performance under day and night, adverse weather and obscured battlefield conditions. The system can be transported by C-130 low velocity airdrop or by sling load with the UH-60L.