Navy Selects Kongberg-Raytheon Naval Strike Missile for their “Small Surface Combatants”

Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile. Kongsberg Photo

The US Naval Institute News Service is reporting the Naval Strike Missile has been selected to provide the long range surface to surface capability for the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and presumably the new frigate as well. This is no surprise since the other two candidates had dropped out of the competition, “…Boeing Harpoon Block II Plus and the Lockheed Martin Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) were both withdrawn by their respective companies from the competition last year. Both Boeing and Lockheed complained that Navy requirements for the OTH missiles did not value the networking capability of their offerings, several sources confirmed to USNI News.”

There are a couple of points to look at here.

The initial contract is for $14,856,016. This reportedly includes, “…encanistered missiles (EM) loaded into launching mechanisms (LM); and a single fire control suite (FCS). This contract consists of EMs (tactical, telemetered and inert operational); FCSs; LMs; mission support equipment, training equipment and courses; engineering services; and travel and other direct costs. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $847,611,857.” So it appears the initial contract includes at least one full ship set. The cumulative value is 57 times greater. There are only 52 Small Surface Combatants planned including both LCSs and the projected frigates (FFGs). Given that we would expect the price to go down in a quantity buy, it looks like these missiles may also go on other platforms as well.

We don’t know how many missiles will go on each platform, but Raytheon seems to indicate each LCS will support two quad launchers. While reportedly launchers are available for one, two, three, four, or six missiles, all the installations so far have been in the quad format. “USNI News understands the Thursday award buys about a dozen missiles.” Presumably some missiles will be expended in tests.

Raytheon Image

NSM is smaller than Harpoon, comparing NSM vs surface launched Harpoon.

  • Weight: 900 lb (410 kg) vs 1,523 lb (691 kg) with booster
  • Length: 13 ft (3.95 m) vs 15 ft (4.6 m)
  • Warhead: 276 lb (125 kg) vs 488 pounds (221 kg)
  • Range: 100 nmi (185 km) vs in excess of 67 nmi (124 km)

It is in targeting where the NSM’s superiority shines compared to the legacy Harpoons..

18 thoughts on “Navy Selects Kongberg-Raytheon Naval Strike Missile for their “Small Surface Combatants”

  1. Seems to me that the launch tubes on both variants are too close to the bridge. Blast will blind the bridge team and hopefully there wont be an explosion during launch?

  2. IMHO the only thing that the NSM has going for it is size and weight. And for a SSC weight is everything, and you can fit two into the weapons bay of a F-35. Other than that the Harpoon II+ ER has a tad bit bigger warhead at twice the range of the NSM. And at half the cost if you remanufacture old stockpiles. But weight is weight, and there is a missile for every ship. Who knows what the next gen Harpoon, and Slam-ER missles will be like. Just like we don’t know what the JSM is going to be like. But we’ll have DDG, and CGs with space reserved for the Harpoons, and the lighter NSM for the SSC. It’s no different than the future JSM complimenting the SLAM-ER. Or the Sidewinder compleminting the Amraam.
    When you think SSC think of the FRAM of the 378’s and how much weight they saved when they switched to the 76mm. Its the difference between carrying 8 NSM or 4 Harpoons. Ok now I’m just throwing numbers around, but I hope you understand what I’m saying.
    Done Rambling for tonight.

    • Don’t forget LRASM. I realize from a size and weight standpoint, NSM are in two different classes. The Navy and Air Force have committed to LRASM for certain air launched needs. It would have to be considered a player for the next increment of anti-ship missile competition.

      I think what the navy really wants is a next gen cruise missile that can replace Tomahawk and also do anti-surface. That missile does not yet exist as far as I know.

      The LRASM in its current format is shorter ranged with a smaller warhead. Tomahawk has the range and payload but is lumbering, less stealthy and not as smart.

      This will be in interesting to watch play out.

      • I know there is talk of developing a VL NSM that can fit in a mk41. I just wonder if it will be able to fit in a standard length version. Which would be great for a SSC. But do I see NSM replacing Harpoon or the LRSM on CG’s, and DDG’s? NO!!! I don’t even see it replacing the SLAM-ER/Harpoon for Anti Shipping unless it’s in a Sea denial role like in operation praying mantis. Where you are operating in a small sandbox. But against a pacific threat like China with big targets you would want range and payload.

    • The NSM does not fit into the F-35 internal weapon bay. That’s why they built the JSM.
      Kind of wish Kongsberg had offered a containerized JSM for the contract, since they’re supposed to carry a warhead equivalent to the Harpoon’s. But, then it would be a mature system being fielded.

  3. Following this for its potential for the Coast Guard. I liked the LRASM for its range, warhead, and smarts because it meant that only a few installations would be able to protect virtually all of our ports.

    If NSM becomes common enough, we might be able to deploy them in larger numbers to more units and achieve coverage that way.

    The warhead is still relatively small. Stopping a large ship would likely take several hits.

  4. Keep in mind, too, the NSM is the follow-on to the successful Penguin, and as such uses passive (IR, and possibly in future Emissions-seeking) sensor and complex terminal manuevers to reduce warning of the attack and effective countermeasures. It’s rather like a “lightweight LRASM.”. Just as smart, but smaller warhead and range. Makes sense for a smaller ship…

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