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NSM operations highlight LCS upgrades

The recent successful deployment of the US Navy (USN) Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) with a Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) to Asia Pacific underscores a recent series of upgrades for LCS vessels, especially for surface-warfare operations.

Gabrielle Giffords on 1 October fired an NSM during ‘Pacific Griffin’, a biennial exercise conducted in the waters near Guam by the Republic of Singapore and US navies.

        Gabrielle Giffords
        (LCS 10) fires a Naval Strike Missile.
       (US Navy)

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) fires a Naval Strike Missile. (US Navy)

The deployment on Giffords , USN officials noted, was the first in the Asia-Pacific region for the NSM, a long-range, sea-skimming, precision strike weapon with a range of at least 100 n miles that also features an advanced seeker and has terrain-following capability.

First demonstrated on USS Coronado (LCS 4) in 2014, the NSM “meets and exceeds the USN’s over-the-horizon requirements for survivability”, the service said in a statement. “LCS packs a punch and gives potential adversaries another reason to stay awake at night,” said Rear Admiral Joey Tynch, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, who oversees security co-operation for the USN in Southeast Asia.

Thanks to the successful ‘Pacific Griffin’ NSM operations, Kongsberg is getting ready to up-gun other LCSs in a similar fashion.

“We are working on the actual delivery of the weapon systems, including missiles to the rest of the LCS fleet,” Steve Schreiber, Kongsberg senior director of Special Platforms and Missile Systems in the US, told Jane’s . “We’re heavy into that now. We’re making sure we’re on time or early in production and deliveries.”

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