The warhead of Raytheon's DeepStrike missile is detonated in a recent test of the lethaliity of its warhead.

Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems says it has successfully tested an advanced warhead for its new DeepStrike surface-to-surface missile, which the company is developing to replace an aging Army tactical missile system.

The key test of the warhead’s lethality moves the weapon closer to its first flight test planned for later this year, Raytheon said.

The DeepStrike missile is Raytheon's offering for the U.S. Army's Precision Strike Missile as a faster, longer-range replacement for the 1970s-era Army Tactical Missile System by 2023. Lockheed Martin also is vying to produce the new missile, under a development program worth about $1 billion.

During the recent test, experts at the National Technical Systems testing facility detonated the warhead inside a controlled environment and found it exceeded Army performance requirements, Raytheon said.