LRASM Topside Launchers

Just a brief note on what is happening in the broader world of Naval warfare preparation. NavyRecognition provides conceptual drawings of topside launch tubes for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM).

Significantly the launchers for this much more capable missile are not expected to require any more space or support than the Harpoon missile and with upgrades it is expected to also incorporate a land attack capability.

As I have noted, the Coast Guard does not seem to have been considered in the Navy’s plans to increase “distributed lethality,” but should the need arise it looks like these would fit well between the Bridge and the 57mm on the National Security Cutters. We might also find a place for them on the Offshore Patrol Cutter. It should be possible to provide the supporting wiring, piping, control systems, etc. to support these relatively easily, even if the missiles and launchers themselves are not mounted, allowing rapid upgrade. (Cutters on Alaska Patrol have to be among the closest US units to Russian Pacific bases.)

11 thoughts on “LRASM Topside Launchers

  1. With VL capability and a range of hundreds of miles no military or paramilitary ship design is needed as platform. It could be launched from a container ship/armed merchantman.

    You fell for the same wrong thinking as do navies, which are so platform-centric that they do not notice when their beloved platforms are unnecessary.

    • True,, you could launch from a merchant ship. That would work best in making a pre-planned surprise attack on a fixed target.

      On the other hand, if you were in a rapidly developing tactical situation, you would want good secure communications and a shared tactical picture with access to intelligence. You might also want an independent targeting capability.

      You could of course put those things on a merchant ship, but we have them on the cutters already.

      If you want to shoot more than once, you might want some self defense capability and more damage control capability than a typical merchant ship. You could add those too, but again, we already have those on the cutters as well.

      Using a merchant ship has the potential advantage of anonymity, but can you really load it on a ship and then have the ship wait until the missiles are needed? How long can you maintain that anonymity?

      In any case, you have to pay for the merchant ship and its crew, plus any necessary supporting personnel.

      What I was suggesting was the cheapest possible way to add a unit with the capability, because the ship and crew are already paid for, as are communications, self defense, and damage control capabilities. The cutters are also faster than most merchant ships.


      • B-52s and B-1Bs were already paid for as well, and could launch such missiles with immunity to everything but fighters.

        Again; I think you’re searching for jobs for your favourite platforms – the same mistake done by navies all too often.
        A CG cutter is no better than a USN replenishment ship as a cruise missile platform.

        Furthermore; Why assume that the CG would be dispensable in its peacetime mission during wartime?

      • Air Force bombers and Navy attack aircraft will almost certainly also launch these missiles, that was already planned. But that has not meant the Navy did not want to spread them around some more.

        There are currently legal issues with putting “offensive” weapons on MSC crewed ships which constitute all USN underway replenishment ships. Further their communications systems are not nearly a comprehensive as those on the new cutters which includes a special intelligence facility on the NSCs and space for one on the OPCs. MSC ships are also currently unarmed except for weapons .50 cal. and below. They also have no ESM or ECM. Adding these would significantly increase their operating costs.

        “Why assume that the CG would be dispensable in its peacetime mission during wartime?” Because priorities change when you go to war, and you are engaged in an existential struggle, fisheries and drug smuggling would seem less important. Really if you look at how the nation spends its money, the priority is already on defense. In wartime, it would be even more so.

        Also I was not recommending actually installing the weapons, only making provision for installing them quickly if needed.

      • Not sure what you mean by “MSC”. Fact is, USN fleet replenishment oilers were equipped with Phalanx CIWS and Sea Sparrow missile (which had some capability against ships) during the Cold War.

      • @Lastdingo, I can recall when AOEs were pretty well armed with several twin 3″/50s and SeaSparrow. That is no longer the case. All underway replenishment vessels are now civilian manned and while they may have positions where CIWS could be mounted, they actually sail with nothing larger than .50 cal. I do think you could make a case they should be better armed than they are,

  2. because we usually are. always under armed. but can still take a hit with well trained damage control. under estimated by most.

  3. Nothing wrong with keeping your adversaries guessing as to from where and how a strike will occur, complicating their own tracking and targeting efforts. That is the basic theory behind the whole distributed strike concept. There is some validity to the concept especially when confronted with an adversary with significant capabilities i.e China or Russia. There is more to this than searching for new jobs to do by favorite platforms.

  4. Pingback: LRASM for Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  5. Pingback: “Defense Primer: U.S. Precision-Guided Munitions” –CRS | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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