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US marines test ship-killing missile system

US Marine Corps fires the Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California, on 28 June 2023. (US Marine Corps)

The US Marine Corps (USMC) fired a Navy Strike Missile (NSM) out of its newly developed ship-killer weapons systems for the first time since 2021, according to an 18 July service announcement.

The Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS) is a Kongsberg-made NSM – which has a range of around 100 n mile – that can be launched off the back of a remotely operated Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). This is the second NMESIS test fire that the USMC has announced in the past two years, with the previous test taking place in August 2021 at the US Navy's ‘Large Scale Exercise' in Hawaii.

The test – operated for the first time by a USMC unit at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California – was an important part of demonstrating NMESIS capability for the marines, said Staff Sergeant Derek Reddy, NMESIS team lead, in a USMC video released on 18 July. “That way we can set forth expectations for the future,” he said about the missile test-fired by Fox Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

He noted that NMESIS is a weapon system that is a cornerstone of the USMC's modernisation plan, Force Design 2030. “Expeditionary advanced basing operations is something that's tied to the system and how we fight the next war,” SSgt Reddy said.

Meanwhile, in June 2023, the USMC posted a video highlighting mobility testing for the NMESIS launcher that started in February 2021 and concluded in February 2022.

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