A big upgrade is coming for the LCS.
Having longer-range or over-the-horizon ship and air-launched weapons is also quite relevant to the “distributed” portion of the strategy which calls for the fleet to have an ability to disperse as needed. Having an ability to spread out and conduct dis-aggregated operations makes Navy forces less vulnerable to enemy firepower while. At the same time, have long-range precision-strike capability will enable the Navy to hold potential enemies at risk or attack if needed while retaining safer stand-off distance from incoming enemy fire.
The US Navy is arming its entire fleet of Littoral Combat Ships and emerging Frigates with a new high-speed, highly maneuverable long-range ship fired missile designed to track and destroy enemy ships in open sea warfare.
The Naval Strike Missile weapon, able to travel on a range of attack trajectories for improved effectiveness, will be operation by 2021, Navy officials said.
“It will enable long range surface strike” Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Alan Baribeau told Warrior Maven.
Integrating this weapon is a key element of a broader Navy strategic shift, in place now for several years, intended to better arm the LCS for more substantial maritime warfare missions than those for which it was originally intended – due to the rapid rise of advanced near-peer threats. Called the Over-the-Horizon Weapons System, the NSM is intended to add greatly enhanced offensive land and sea attack possibilities.
It is engineered to target enemy ships, small boats and other threats from areas beyond more immediate “line-of-sight” targeting technologies. It has an approximate range of 100 nautical miles.
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