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First NSM fit on RN Type 23 frigate

HMS Somerset seen at Haakonsvern Naval Base on 14 December after receiving its NSM outload. The NSM launcher hardware is fitted in the space forward of the bridge previously occupied by Harpoon. (Royal Norwegian Navy)

The Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset has become the first UK Royal Navy (RN) warship to receive the Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace Naval Strike Missile (NSM) surface-to-surface missile system.

NSM is being procured from Norway under the Maritime Offensive Surface Strike programme in order to replace the Boeing Harpoon Block 1C surface-to-surface guided weapon, which is being retired from the RN service at the end of December. Open-source imagery showed Somerset returning to Devonport, Plymouth, on 18 December after receiving its NSM missile outload in Norway.

Entering service with the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN) in 2012, NSM was developed by Kongsberg to meet the RNoN's requirements for a highly discriminative, low-observable anti-ship weapon able to penetrate shipboard defences and operate effectively in both blue water and littoral environments. Capable of ranges up to 200 km, the missile marries an agile, stealthy, and sea-skimming air vehicle, using Global Positioning System (GPS)-aided mid-course guidance, with an advanced dual-band imaging infrared seeker and a semi-armour-piercing warhead optimised for the anti-surface role.

The UK Ministry of Defence in November 2022 confirmed plans to pursue the accelerated acquisition of NSM under a government-to-government sales agreement with Norway. It stated at the time that its aim is to ensure that an initial capability was in place by the time Harpoon left service at the end of 2023.


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