The US Navy’s Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Oakland (LCS 24) completed the installation of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) with the NSM launch module on December 9 at Naval Base San Diego.
“The addition of the NSM bolsters LCS capabilities to engage with ships in addition to the ship’s mission module,” the service said in a statement.
The NSM is a long-range, precision-strike weapon that can trace and destroy enemy ships at distances of up to 100 nautical miles (115 miles or 185 kilometers). The weapon system was produced in a partnership between Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Norwegian-based Kongsberg Defense Aerospace. Several countries have expressed their interest in the missile.
“The addition of the NSM on LCS vessels adds lethality and over-the-horizon capability,” said Oakland Blue Crew’s commanding officer Cmdr. Derek Jaskowiak.
“The presence of an NSM acts as a deterrent and provides additional offensive capacity for deployed LCS vessels, and is a great asset to the fleet,” he added.
The NSM can evade enemy defense systems by conducting evasive maneuvers and flying at sea-skimming altitude. It uses an advanced seeker for precision targeting and carries a 500-pound class warhead with a programmable fuse.
The weapon can also be used in ground-based or amphibious operations as it has the ability to climb and descend with terrain. The US Navy selected the NSM in 2018 for its over-the-horizon defense of LCS and future frigates.
The weapon system is a successor to the Penguin anti-ship missile system and the only fifth-generation long-range precision strike missile in the world.
Littoral Combat Ship
The Littoral Combat Ship is a fast and mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments for use against 21st-century coastal threats. The vessel is capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence.
In addition to the USS Oakland, four other Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships are armed with the NSM: the USS Jackson, USS Charleston, USS Gabrielle Giffords, and USS Tulsa.