Will the US Buy the Naval Strike Missile?
A live-fire demonstration of a Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM).
Image Credit: U.S. Navy

Will the US Buy the Naval Strike Missile?


Norwegian and U.S. defense contractors will team up to pitch an anti-ship missile to the U.S. Navy, according to media reports. The Norway-based Kongsberg Gruppen arms supplier and the U.S. missile manufacturer Raytheon have joined forces to try to convince the navy to acquire the fifth-generation over-the-horizon Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) for its new Littoral Combats Ships (LCS).

The NSM is already in production in Norway and in use on Norwegian frigates and corvettes, according to Defense News. However, “the missile could be built and assembled in America if the U.S. buys the weapon for the LCS,” the article notes. Additionally, Defense News notes that the missile could be a cost-effective option for the U.S., as “the Norwegian government has already borne the costs for developing the NSM.”

Harald Ånnestad, the Executive Vice President of Kongsberg Gruppen told reporters last week, “Our missile is competing very well, compared to other missiles when it comes to price per missile. The price will vary a lot if you buy ten or if you buy 400 missiles.”

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As I reported earlier, the U.S. Navy still lacks an adequate long-range, anti-surface weapon to implement a re-organization of the surface fleet based on the “distributed lethality” idea (see: “The US Navy’s New Surface Warfare Strategy: ‘Distributed Lethality”). The aging anti-ship missiles currently in use– such as the Boeing RGM-84 Harpoon Block II and the French-designed MBDA Exocet — no longer fulfill the operational requirements set out in the navy’s new more aggressive warfighting strategy.

According to naval-technology.com, “The NSM is a successor to the Penguin anti-ship missile and is the only fifth generation long-range precision strike missile in the world.” The midrange missile can strike land and sea targets at a distance of over 200 km.

“The stealth design of the NSM allows the anti-ship missile to penetrate into shipboard defenses. The NSM is effectively used in littoral and open sea environments. The airframe design and the high thrust-to-weight ratio enhance the maneuverability of the missile,” the website further explains.

USNI News reports that the missiles could be placed in proprietary canister launchers on the deck of both variants of the LCSs. The president of Raytheon Missile Systems, Taylor Lawrence, elaborates:

We’re looking at these canisters to be placed on the deck or an appropriate horizontal surface on the ship and integrated in their missions control, mission planning suites.We wouldn’t have to have the vessels radically modified to include vertical cells for that matter. These would be placed on the deck.

So far, no decisions on the procurement of the new weapon system has been made.

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