The U.S. Army’s highest-priority modernization effort is long-range precision fires. The Army’s current program envisions an array of fires systems–cannons, rockets and missiles that, taken in totality, will be able to engage targets at ranges from the close-in battlefield to the adversary’s strategic depth. But as the Army made progress on multiple long-range fires programs, it realized that it needed an additional capability specifically designed to address targets at ranges between about 550 and about 2,000 kilometers. To meet the stringent timeline established for achieving overmatch in long-range fires, Army Futures Command made a wise decision. Instead of starting with a new missile, it chose to adapt two existing Navy systems, the Standard Missile-6 and the Tomahawk cruise missile, to serve as the Army’s new mid-range, ground-launched fires systems. By choosing to modify two highly successful, long-established missiles, the Army not only reduced risk and development costs but increased the likelihood of being able to introduce the new capability relatively soon. I have written more on the new mid-range program here.
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