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Lockheed Martin Develops Nemesis PGM for SOF Requirements

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One new munition design entering the public spotlight at the recent Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), held May 14-16, 2013 in Tampa, Fla., was the Nemesis, from Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

According to Doug Borger, business development manager for Nemesis at Lockheed Martin, the munition was developed in response to a special operations need that surfaced in the fall of 2011.

“What started this for Lockheed Martin was a request for information that came out in August 2011 – administered by the U.S. Army on behalf of USSOCOM – that was [requesting information] on a missile that could be vertically launched and travel out to an objective range of 15 kilometers, where it would deliver lethal ordnance onto a target,” he explained. “We submitted a couple of different concepts and we received interest in this particular configuration.”

Nemesis man-portable

The man-portable version of the Nemesis precision-guided munition from Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control on display at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in May 2013. Scott R. Gourley photo

In its current configuration, Nemesis is fired vertically from its launch tube, enabling 360-degree engagement capability. A combat-proven rocket motor, deployable wing, and GPS guidance enable the missile to engage targets out to distances in excess of 12 kilometers. The missile’s semi-active laser (SAL) seeker activates in the terminal phase of flight to provide precision accuracy and minimize collateral damage. The user is also able to select height of burst or point-detonation fuzing options to optimize lethality against enemy personnel, light armored vehicles and structures.

“It’s so versatile that it can be attached to a vehicle, maritime platform, or airborne platform. But right now we’re presenting it in this man-portable configuration,” Borger added.

Borger said that USSOCOM interest included “a trace amount of money for a flight demonstration, and they paid for that actual range time and to facilitate the demo, but this was developed exclusively on Lockheed Martin IRAD [internal research and development] internal investment dollars.”

The missile design builds on proven technologies from demonstrated systems, including Hellfire II, DAGR and Scorpion. Company representatives noted that using components from these systems reduced risk and shortened the time from initial development to participation in recent testing at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., where the company successfully demonstrated the launch, guided flight, target acquisition and precision strike capability of Nemesis in three flight tests.

In the first two tests, Nemesis demonstrated vertical launch, GPS navigation to targets located at distances of eight and 12 kilometers, engagement by the missile’s SAL seeker, and live warhead detonation. In both flights, Nemesis performed flawlessly, destroying the intended targets. The successful third shot demonstrated the vertical launch of an inert round, followed by GPS-only navigation to a target positioned just 100 meters away.

“We have demonstrated [ranges] out to 12 kilometers and we have an objective range of 15 kilometers that we are very comfortable with,” Borger said. “We also have a minimum range – where we have demonstrated at 100 meters, which is pretty phenomenal. We could actually ‘prosecute’ ourselves – although I certainly don’t advise that – but we do have that kind of capability and maneuverability with the system and its wing configuration.”

“Nemesis provides critical performance to forward-deployed troops in response to a stated warfighter capability gap,” echoed Frank St. John, vice president of tactical missiles and combat maneuver systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Warfighters must be able to trust that the weapons they deploy will deliver the intended effects every time. Our three-for-three flight tests demonstrate the missile is reliable and lethal.”

“In terms of lethality we have a very affordable 81mm mortar warhead which we have enhanced with an additional 5-pound ‘sleeve’ of frags,” Borger added. “So this has 10,000 frags combined. And the USSOCOM customer has been elated with the arena test and the actual live warhead results.”

“What we are doing now is to ‘socialize’ this with all the USSOCOM components, because it is so versatile,” he said. “It can be attached to all types of platforms and we are looking to them as part of their DOTMLPF [Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership & Education, Personnel, and Facilities] analyses to see where and when a requirement may come for this type of system.”

In addition to USSOCOM requirements, the ability for the Nemesis design to be deployed from airborne Common Launch Tubes is also thought to fulfill U.S. Marine Corps requirements for a standoff precision-guided munition. The missile can also be configured for internal or external carriage on other fixed- and rotary-wing platforms.

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...

  • Scott – Has LM indicated if they are pursuing the addition of Nemesis to the LCS? What are the specific dimensions of the missile and any launch tube?

  • Scott Gourley

    Hi Tom -

    That’s an interesting question. Although LCS did not come up in the context of the original briefing, I contacted LM as a follow-up. Their semi-official response is that “Lockheed Martin is not pursuing launching Nemesis from the LCS at this time.”

    Cheers

    - Scott

  • Dave Blevins

    Nice to see that the engineers are still on the job with great ideas. Thanks guys.