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Naval Weapons

SSMM module completes LCS structural test firing

09 March 2017
A Longbow Hellfire Missile is fired from Littoral Combat Ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) on 28 February as part of a structural test firing of the Surface to Surface Missile Module. Source: US Navy

Key Points

  • The SSMM utilises the AGM-114L-8A Longbow Hellfire missile in a vertical launch configuration
  • IOC of SSMM Increment 1 is planned for 2018

The US Navy (USN) has conducted a successful structural test firing of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Surface to Surface Missile Module (SSMM) from the Freedom-variant LCS USS Detroit (LCS 7).

The SSMM utilises the US Army's AGM-114L-8A Longbow Hellfire missile in a vertical launch configuration to confer the LCS with a capability to interdict multiple swarming surface threats.

Performed on 28 February off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, the test - forming part of the developmental test programme for the LCS Surface Warfare (SUW) Mission Package - marked the first launch of a missile from the SSMM from an LCS vessel. It was also the first vertical missile launched from an LCS.

The Longbow Hellfire missile and associated SSMM Increment 1 is being developed for inclusion in the Increment 3 version of the SUW Mission Package for LCS. Increment 3 is the next delivery of capability for the LCS SUW Mission Package, which achieved initial operational capability (IOC) at Increment 2 standard in November 2014 with delivery of the Gun Mission Module (two Mk 46 single 30 mm guns) and the Maritime Security Module (11-m rigid hull inflatable boat for visit, board, search, and seizure).

The SUW Mission Package Increment 3 is scheduled to begin developmental testing on board USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) later in 2017. This is intended to culminate in operational testing and IOC in 2018.

Engineering development tests of Longbow Hellfire missiles modified for use on LCS vessels were successfully conducted in June 2015. During the tests off the coast of Virginia, the Longbow Hellfire missiles successfully destroyed a series of manoeuvring small boat targets. The system 'hit' seven of eight targets engaged, with the lone miss attributed to a target issue not related to the missile's capability.

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