TypeStandoff air-launched cruise missile
Service history
Used byUnited States Armed Forces
Production history
ManufacturerRTX Corporation
Unit cost$13.33m[1]
WarheadW80 Mod 4 thermonuclear weapon

2,500+ km (predicted)

The AGM-181 Long Range Stand Off Weapon (LRSO) is a nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missile under development by Raytheon Technologies that will replace the AGM-86 ALCM.


As of August 24, 2017, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin received separate $900 million contracts from the Department of Defense and US Air Force and are developing their own versions.[2][3][4] Contracts were intended to end in 2022, when the Department of Defense will select one design to continue further developments.[5]

To replace the ALCM, the USAF planned to award a contract for the development of the new Long-Range Stand-Off weapon in 2015.[6] Unlike the AGM-86, the LRSO will be carried on multiple aircraft. The LRSO program is to develop a weapon that can penetrate and survive integrated air defense systems and prosecute strategic targets. The weapons are required to reach initial operational capability (IOC) before the retirement of their respective ALCM versions, around 2030.[7]

The technology development contracts were to be submitted before the end of 2012.[8] In March 2014 a further three-year delay in the project was announced by the Department of Defense, delaying a contract award until fiscal year 2018.[9] The House Armed Services Committee moved to reject this delay.[10] The delay was caused by financial pressures and an uncertain acquisition plan, and allowed by the long remaining service life left for the AGM-86 and lack of urgent necessity compared to other defense needs.[11] The designations YAGM-180A and YAGM-181A have been allocated to the LRSO prototypes from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies respectively.[12] The FY2020 defense authorization bill passed by Congress repealed the requirement for a conventional warhead version of the LRSO, leaving only the nuclear armed variant. The Air Force will use the JASSM-ER and the longer-ranged JASSM-XR to fulfill the conventional standoff missile role.[13]

In April 2020, the Air Force announced plans to continue the Long-Range Standoff Weapon’s development with Raytheon Company as a sole-source contractor.[14]

On 1 July 2021, the USAF awarded Raytheon a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the engineering and manufacturing development stage of the LRSO program, with options that could take the contract to about US$2 billion. DefenseNews reported that the USAF could buy more than 1,000 AGM-181 missiles, which are projected to have a range in excess of 1,500 miles (2,400 km).[15]


The AGM-181 will be integrated with the B-52H and B-21 bomber.[16] The missile's nuclear warhead will be the W80-4 warhead.[17][18][19]


See also


  1. ^ "Report to Congressional Committees" (PDF). U.S. Government Accountability Office. June 2022. p. 87. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 December 2023. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  2. ^ Trevithick, Joseph (24 August 2017). "Everything You Need to Know About the USAF's New Nuclear Cruise Missile Program". The Drive. Archived from the original on 4 September 2023.
  3. ^ Insinna, Valerie (23 August 2017). "Lockheed, Raytheon nab contracts for nuclear cruise missile". Defense News. Archived from the original on 6 July 2021.
  4. ^ Stone, Mike (23 August 2017). "U.S. Air Force picks Raytheon, Lockheed for next-gen cruise missile". Reuters. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017.
  5. ^ Carlson, Stephen (24 August 2017). "Lockheed, Raytheon receive contracts for nuclear cruise missile". UPI. Archived from the original on 25 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  6. ^ Grossman, Elaine M. (24 February 2012). "Air Force plans two-year delay in developing new Cruise Missile". Nextgov. Archived from the original on 7 January 2024.
  7. ^ Hemmerdinger, Jon (7 January 2014). "USAF's LRSO missile may reach IOC around 2030". Flight Global. Archived from the original on 25 June 2022.
  8. ^ Majumdar, Dave (7 December 2012). "USAF to develop new cruise missile". Flight Global. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013.
  9. ^ Hemmerdinger, Jon (13 March 2014). "USAF delays LRSO again, this time by three years". Flight Global. Archived from the original on 15 March 2014.
  10. ^ Guarino, Douglas P. (29 April 2014). "GOP Defense Bill Pushes Back Against Proposed Nuclear-Modernization Delays". Nuclear Threat Initiative. Archived from the original on 30 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Long-Range Standoff Missile Development Pushed Back By Three Years". Inside Defense. 5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 4 December 2014.
  12. ^ Tirpak, John A. (21 April 2020). "Lockheed May Still Play a Role in Upgrading Raytheon LRSO, Once it's Operational". Air & Space Forces Magazine. Archived from the original on 22 July 2023.
  13. ^ McDougall, Shaun (5 February 2020). "Congress Repeals Requirement for Conventional Long-Range Standoff Weapon". Forecast International. Archived from the original on 7 January 2024.
  14. ^ Bryant, Leah (17 April 2020). "Air Force selects single contractor for long-range standoff nuclear weapon". Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. Archived from the original on 18 October 2023. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  15. ^ Insinna, Valerie (6 July 2021). "Raytheon wins $2B contract for new nuclear cruise missile". Defense News. Archived from the original on 7 January 2024.
  16. ^ Hughes, Robin (15 March 2019). "Boeing contracted to integrate LRSO cruise missile with the B-52H bomber". Janes. Archived from the original on 29 May 2023. Retrieved 7 January 2024.
  17. ^ Mehat, Aaron (2 February 2018). "The US could be getting 2 new nuclear capabilities. Here are the details". Defense News. Archived from the original on 7 February 2018.
  18. ^ Kristensen, Hans (10 Oct 2014). "W80-1 Warhead Selected For New Nuclear Cruise Missile". Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on 27 September 2023. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  19. ^ Tirpak, John A. (21 April 2022). "Some B-21 Bomber Facilities at Ellsworth to be Ready for 2024". Air & Space Forces Magazine. Archived from the original on 16 January 2023.