US Navy Tests Sea-Based Containerized Missile Launcher

The US Navy test-fired a Standard Missile (SM)-6 missile from a containerized launch system aboard a littoral combat ship (LCS).

The service didn’t identify the system, but it seemed to be the MK 70 Payload Delivery System.

“USS Savannah (LCS 28) conducted a live-fire demonstration Oct. 24 in the Eastern Pacific Ocean utilizing a containerized launching system that fired an SM-6 missile at a designated target,” the service said.

“The exercise demonstrated the modularity and lethality of littoral combat ships and the ability to successfully integrate a containerized weapons system to engage a surface target. The exercise will inform continued testing, evaluation and integration of containerized weapons systems on afloat platforms.”

MK 70 Payload Delivery System
MK 70 Payload Delivery System. Image: Lockheed Martin

MK 70 Launcher

The Lockheed Martin launcher is based on the MK 41 vertical launch system (VLS) installed on the Navy’s guided-missile warships.

It comprises four MK.41 VLS cells in a 12-meter (40-foot) container.

The MK 70 can launch a range of long-range anti-ship and anti-air weapons, such as the SM-6 and a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile, with a range of 150 miles (240 kilometers) and 1,200 miles (1,600 kilometers).

Ground-Launch Missile Capability

The launcher is part of the US military’s effort to field a ground-launch long-range precision missile capability following the expiration of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The treaty prohibited signatories from possessing all ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3417 miles).

Sea-based and air-delivered missiles were not covered in the treaty.

The US Army recently conducted the first test launch of a Tomahawk missile from the Mid-Range Capability system, which is a variant of the MK 70.

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