New Weapon for Patrol Craft

Informationdissemination is reporting that the Navy has tested a surface launched version of a small semi-active laser homing missile, the AGM-176 Griffin, from USS Monsoon (PC-4), a ship very similar in size to the new Fast Response Cutters.

The launcher is relatively small, and appears to impose minimal requirements on the vessel.

This is a very small missile, obviously not a ship killer, in that it did not sink even the small boat used as a target, but with a 13 pound warhead, it does provide hitting power similar to a 76mm round.

The range is not great at about 6,000 yards, but that is beyond the effective range of machineguns, RPGs and even most man-portable anti-tank guided missiles, weapons that might be used by drug smugglers or terrorists. (Since I wrote this the range has increased to 12,000 yards.)

18 thoughts on “New Weapon for Patrol Craft

    • It does look like it has its uses. If we ever had to stop a terrorist attack inside a US harbor, shots that miss the target and impact where we don’t want them to would be a concern. This would be a lot less likely to end up hitting an office building or school and it could give some of the smaller cutters the punch of a 76mm.

  1. I don’t know what to think. Initially, I felt as Chuck does (moderately excited?), but the more I think about it, I’m not so sure. 4 rounds in the launcher means it’s worthless against swarm attacks such the Iranians will use… Range and lethality level are equal or worse than the 57mm, and at much greater expense vis-a-vis weight of explosive delivered on target. I suppose it’s a good step up for something with a maximum armament of a 25mm, such as the FRC, as Chuck points out. I wonder what the cost is?

    • The Informationdissemination post does say they are “$45K a pop” which is very inexpensive for a missile. It would take quite a few missiles to equal the cost of a 57mm gun. (Not to say I want to see it replace any 57mm guns.)

      Lethality for an individual hit should be greater than the 57mm in that it has a 13 pound warhead while 57mm shells are about 6 pounds.

      The 57 gets off more rounds but the missile is more likely to get a first round hit.

      I don’t think we can weigh it out from what we know, and I don’t think anyone is suggesting a trade-off of one against the other.

      It might supplement the armament of an NSC or OPC, but the real significance is what it can do for the smaller vessels.

      • Depending on the cost of the Griffen’s mount(s) and fire-control, the “break-even point” with the Mk. 110 would be around the 150-250 engagements point. (Assuming using 10 rounds of Mk295 ammo per engagement.) That IS a pretty fair cost trade-off in favor of the missile. Of course, it would probably tip back the other way for the Mk.38, but, meanwhile, I think I’ve figured out why I should like it. It’s a layered defense. Mk.110 starts at 9km, Griffin engages at 5km, and Mk.38 gets at any leakers left… I like it.

  2. The old Sea Cat missile, in a surface to surface role, would have done much more damage at a longer range: better value for money with the oldies!

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