Army Cancels NLOS-LS Missile System; LCS Implications Could Be Big

The Army has finally canceled the problem plagued Non Line of Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS), one of the leftovers of the many bits and pieces of the failed FCS program. As we've reported, the NLOS-LS failed miserably in its most recent series of tests, carried out earlier this year. This story was first reported by InsideDefense.com.

In 2004, the Army signed a six year, $1.1 billion development contract for the NLOS-LS with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. That same year, the Navy signed a memorandum of understanding with the Army to buy the missiles for it's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

The Army's cancellation of the program could have serious implications for the LCS program as the NLOS-LS was to substitute for the ship's lack of vertical launch system cells — which can handle anti-ship, anti-aircraft or land attack missiles — carried on larger surface ships, if in a smaller package. The only weapon the LCS currently carries is a single 57mm rapid fire cannon that can range out to nine miles.

Analysts have pointed to the LCS' lack of organic fires as a serious shortcoming that might limit its operational effectiveness. One of the primary missions of the LCS is to screen the battle fleet's larger ships and fight off fast attack boat "swarms." That's where the NLOS-LS was supposed to come in, with a Loitering Attack Missile that could range out to 124 miles.

Update: Asked to comment on the missile's cancellation, a spokesperson from Lockheed Martin's LCS office said: "By design, LCS is a flexible, reconfigurable ship, able to accept other weapons the Navy might want to integrate."

-- Greg

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