Get Ready, Russia and China: How 1 Missile Could Turn the F-35 Into a Navy-Killer

    Charlie Gao


    Thanks to Norway. 

    While the missile itself is very lethal, the other half of the NSM’s success in the European export market is its ability to be adapted to a wide variety of platforms. In Norwegian service, the NSM is mounted on Skjold-class corvettes, which are very small ships. In Polish service, the NSM is mounted on heavy trucks. Raytheon has also mounted the NSM on the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) in demonstrations for the U.S. military. A demonstration of this capability (referred to as a cross-domain fire) will occur during RIMPAC 2018. The small profile of the launchers for NSM allows for a military to easily integrate the missile onto their existing truck fleet.

    In the mid 2000s, the Royal Norwegian Navy was looking to select a new anti-ship missile (ASM) to equip their ships. They looked at all foreign offerings, didn’t find any missile satisfactory, and instead drew up their own set of requirements. The requirements were: to meet the challenges of a future (up to 2040) ship-to-ship combat environment; to have a high probability of penetrating enemy air defense and countermeasures; to be effective in confined and open waters; and to be easily adaptable to different platforms.

    From these requirements, Kongsberg Defense drew up the NSM, or Nytt sjømålsmissil. The name “Naval Strike Missile” was only attached later for English marketing purposes. The philosophy behind the design was to create a subsonic, small, agile missile that would be hard to observe, as opposed to a larger, supersonic missile. For reference, the NSM is only four-meters long. This is half the length of the Russian P-800 and P-700 missiles. The Russian missiles also use active radar homing in the terminal phase. This can alert a ship that it is being targeted. In contrast, the NSM uses a passive infrared (IR) sensor to home in on its target. Passive IR seeker technology for ASMs was pioneered by Kongsberg on the earlier Penguin anti-ship missile.

    Recommended: The Fatal Flaw That Could Take Down an F-22 or F-35.

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