Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Oslo, Norway (4E) – The stealthy Naval Strike Missile (NSM) developed by the Norwegian firm Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) has been selected by the U.S. Navy as its Over-the-Horizon (OTH) Weapon System to destroy Russian and Chinese warships beyond visual range.
NSM, which is both an anti-ship and land-attack weapon, will arm the Navy’s fleet of Independence-class and Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships and its future frigate. The Navy is also considering the possibility of arming its other surface warships with the sea-skimming cruise missile.
The Navy on May 31 officially selected NSM to serve as the LCS’ OTH anti-ship missile. The $14.8 million initial contract award to Raytheon (KDA’s partner) calls for the delivery of “encanistered missiles loaded into launching mechanisms; and a single fire control suite.” It will involve about a dozen missiles but the entire contract value could grow to $847.6 million if all contract options are exercised.
NSM is a sub-sonic, sea-skimming cruise missile with a range of around 185 km meant to quickly sink enemy ships. It carries a 125 kg high-explosive, blast-fragmentation warhead.
The weapon navigates to the general target area using a combination of GPS; an inertial navigation system (INS) and terrain recognition, and can also fly over or around islands and other land masses. INS offers an effective backup in the increasingly likely event an opponent disrupts the GPS connectivity.
In its terminal flight stage, the missile switches to an infrared imaging seeker to home-in on the target. Using a built-in database of representative ship types, the weapon can automatically discriminate between the intended target and other objects. This capability gives it a high degree of accuracy and makes it much less susceptible to electronic warfare tactics and countermeasures.
NSM also makes random movements in its terminal flight stage to avoid enemy close-in defense systems and has stealthy characteristics that make it more difficult to detect.
Raytheon and KDA are also cooperating on the air-launched Joint Strike Missile, or JSM, which is an improved derivative of the NSM. This is a more robust multi-role weapon with more than double the range depending on its flight profile; will have a larger warhead and feature other upgraded features.
The weapon has a two-way datalink allowing the firing platform to send updated targeting information to it while it’s still in flight or send it heading in a different direction altogether. It’s possible that some of these features will eventually migrate to the NSM or that a sea-launched version of the JSM will become available.
Article – All Rights Reserved.
Provided by FeedSyndicate