The Navy test-fired a Norwegian long-range precision strike missile from the deck of its Littoral Combat Ship to assess whether the weapon should be permanently integrated onto the ship, service officials said.
A live-fire demonstration of the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile took place Sept. 23 aboard the USS Coronado, or LCS 4, Navy officials said, resulting in the missile achieving a direct-hit on a mobile ship target.
“We look at foreign weapon systems to see how good they are. We want to see if they can be integrated into our systems and to see if they are competitive. It was a successful firing,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters Sept. 30.
The Kongsberg NSM is a long-range precision strike missile currently used on Norwegian Nansen-class frigates and Skjold-Class missile torpedo boats. The missile is also used by the Polish Coastal Missile Division, Navy officials said.
“We’re looking at using this in the future. It has a range of 100-plus nautical miles,” said Navy spokesman Dale Eng.
Mabus said the missile test demonstrated the versatility of the LCS platform, a ship which has been criticized by lawmakers and analysts for not being survivable enough.
“One of the things it shows about the LCS is that you can put different weapons on it. This is one of the weapons systems we are looking at,” he added.
Kongsberg has previously contracted with the Navy to supply simulation training tools for navigation, seamanship, and ship handling training programs, service officials said.
Testing took place on board the Navy's newest littoral combat ship to show the LCS' ability to readily accept new weapons systems as part of what the Navy calls the Foreign Comparative Testing, or FCT, program.
“Since 1980, the FCT program has helped the United States and allies reap substantial savings by avoiding research and development costs, lowering procurement costs, reducing risk for major acquisition programs and accelerating the fielding of equipment critical to the reading and safety of operating forces,” according to a Navy statement.
There are a range of weapons being considered by the Navy as part of an attempt to better arm the platform and make it more survivable.
For instance, the Navy is also testing integration of a Hellfire missile on-board the LCS, in order to leverage its precise, all-weather millimeter wave radar.
At the same time, Raytheon is hoping the Navy will consider its extended-range Griffin missile for the platform as well.