A jet deploys Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). (Credit Lockheed Martin)

WASHINGTON — The US Navy is seeking industry’s assistance to rapidly prototype and field a new air-launched, stand-off weapon inexpensive enough to manufacture en masse and perform on par with the service’s current anti-ship cruise missile.

Dubbed the “Multi-mission Affordable Capacity Effector (MACE),” the service posted a public notice earlier this month that it should have “increased range at lower costs” and “integrated a high-maturity propulsion system with proven payloads.”

“The objective of this notice is to help the government determine if there are existing sources with the capability and experience to rapidly prototype, integrate, test and field a long-range, network-enabled weapon system capable of launch from a F/A-18E/F and F-35A/C,” according to the notice.

The exact ranges of most Pentagon weaponry are classified, but the notice states MACE should be “complimentary” to the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, the Lockheed Martin-made missile fielded on the Navy’s F/A-18 and Air Force’s B-1B.

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Possible successors to LRASM, an effort dubbed HALO, are in development by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, but the Navy has previously stated it doesn’t expect that weapon to be fielded until the 2030s. By contrast, Naval Air Systems Command, the service agency responsible for buying aircraft and associated weaponry, wants to field an early version of MACE in fiscal year 2027, according to the solicitation.

Possible proposals from industry should aim for a cost no greater than $300,000 per all-up-round with a production capacity of at least 500 rounds per year, the notice states.

“MACE shall be compatible with carriage on F/A-18E/F, as the threshold platform. MACE should be designed for internal carriage of 4 AURs in F-35A/C to enable future integration. MACE shall be compatible with existing internal carriage racks and/or mounting points approved for use on F-35A/C,” according to the notice.

The War Zone, which reported on the Navy’s notice earlier this month, noted the service’s request bears similarity to a US Air Force initiative dubbed the “Extended Ranged Attack Munition.” The Air Force first published its own notice about ERAM in late January.

Spokespeople from the Navy and Air Force did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Breaking Defense.