Home » Aviation » VIDEO: Navy Tests Anti-Swarm Boat Missile on Littoral Combat Ship USS Detroit


VIDEO: Navy Tests Anti-Swarm Boat Missile on Littoral Combat Ship USS Detroit

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post had the incorrect size of the LCS main deck gun. Both variants field a 57mm deck gun, not 76mm. 

The Navy conducted its first test of a short-range missile system designed to protect a Littoral Combat Ship against swarming threats, Naval Sea Systems Command announced on Tuesday.

The Feb. 28 test, off of Norfolk, Va., tested the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) aboard the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship USS Detroit (LCS-7), firing multiple Lockheed Martin AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missiles.

“The test marked the first launch of a missile from the SSMM from an LCS as well as the first vertical missile launched from an LCS,” reads a NAVSEA statement. The missiles work with a pair of 30mm Bushmaster cannons and the ship’s main 57mm deck gun for the anti-swarm boat mission.

“This was another positive step forward in fielding of the next increment for the SuW mission package,” Capt. Ted Zobel, mission modules program manager at the Program Executive Office for LCS, said in the NAVSEA statement.
“The SSMM is a critical piece of the SuW MP, and this event will allow us to move safely into developmental testing and soon to fielding this capability aboard LCS.”

Longbow is the third missile the Navy has considered for the long-delayed capability for the SuW mission package. In 2011 the Navy announced it would use the Raytheon Griffin IIB missile for the SuW package. In 2014 the Navy announced it would use Longbow. Before Griffin, the Navy and Army were developing a custom missile that would replace the failed Non-Line-of-Sight Launch missile system (N-LOS).

Trouble developing the missile for the mission package prompted the Navy to certify a more limited SuW package that traded the missile capability for space for visit, board, search and seizure teams (VBSS) that could deploy from LCS.

An early iteration of that SuW package deployed with a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment (LEDET) in 2010 with USS Freedom (LCS-1) in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and eastern Pacific.

As the Navy has developed the SuW package, the swarm boat threat to the LCS has been overshadowed by the service’s desire to arm both variants of the class with an over-the-horizon anti-ship missile for LCS and the planned follow-on frigate.

The SuW mission package will begin testing on USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) later this year and will have an initial operational capability in 2018.

The following is the March 7, 2017 release on the test.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy conducted a successful structural test firing of the Surface to Surface Missile Module (SSMM) from Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Detroit (LCS 7) Feb. 28 off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia.

The test marked the first launch of a missile from the SSMM from an LCS as well as the first vertical missile launched from an LCS, as part of the developmental test program for the Surface Warfare (SUW) Mission Package (MP).

“The testing aboard USS Detroit was an important milestone in advancing LCS capability, not only for the LCS community but for the entire fleet. As small boat threats proliferate, the SSMM will give our ships added lethality,” said Cmdr. Michael Desmond, Detroit’s commanding officer.

SSMM utilizes the Army Longbow Hellfire Missile in a vertical launch capability to counter small boat threats. SSMM is the next delivery of capability for the LCS SUW MP, which achieved initial operational capability (IOC) in November 2014 with delivery of the Gun Mission Module (two 30mm guns) and the Maritime Security Module (11m Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat for Visit Boarding Search and Seizure).

“This was another positive step forward in fielding of the next increment for the SUW MP,” stated Capt. Ted Zobel, Mission Modules program manager. “The SSMM is a critical piece of the SUW MP and this event will allow us to move safely into developmental testing and soon to fielding this capability aboard LCS.”

When new or different ordnance systems are first installed on board Navy warships, a Structural Test Fire (STF) is required to determine if shipboard structures, equipment, and systems can operate satisfactorily after weapon firing and if any personnel hazards, such as toxic gas intrusion or damaging noise levels, exist during weapon firing operations. Specifically, STF verifies that the ship’s structure and equipment as well as the interfaces between ordnance and the ship are capable of withstanding the vibration, shock, noise, gases and other blast derivatives from ordnance firing. STF results will be used to evaluate and document safety requirements.

The Surface Warfare Mission Package will begin developmental testing aboard USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) later this year and will culminate in operational testing and IOC in 2018.

  • Alan Janigian

    The deck gun on an LCS is a 57mm, not a 76.

    • Sam Culper III

      We wish the LCS had a 76mm main gun, but we’re stuck with the pea shooter 57mm we have now on board. The LCS is ridiculously under equipped armament wise compared to similar sized ships our adversaries are fielding.

      • ElmCityAle

        How many ship to ship naval engagements in the past half century have involved guns? The only one I can think of would the the USS Vincennes in 1988 engaging Iranian gunboats with her 5″ guns. I would trade the forward gun on both LCS models for a small VLS system – even just 8 cells of 32 ESSM – and/or another RAM/SeaRAM system to guard the front, currently a blind spot with the rear mounted launchers.

        • ChipinAZ

          I would say surface gunfire has been used more often in the last half century than missiles. Operation Praying Mantis involved surface gunfire. HMS Ardent sank an Argentine supply ship with surface gunfire during the Falklands conflict. U.S. ships utilized gunfire against converted Iranian oil platforms. There were engagements during the Viet Nam conflict as well. Surface gunfire remains important. Guns are also useful for shore bombardment and air defense.

          • ChipinAZ

            Sorry, HMS Alacrity not Ardent. Her victim was ARA Isla de los Estados.

          • Duane

            The Falklands war was 35 years ago. Technology, including ships, sensors, networked comms, aircraft, and munitions, are vastly superior to whatever was available to the combatants way back then. You may as well cite World War One as a relevant go-by for warfare today.

          • draeger24

            okay, hold the phone…..the same thing was said in the Vietnam War when the Nuclear Guided Missile Cruiser was attacked by gunboats and had to run away….paaalheeese….the HELLFIRE is 100,000 dollars a piece….we can’t afford NOT to have surface fire. Missiles can be fooled….a shell cannot. Also, all these missiles are great for point destruction, but the do nothing for area suppression. I remember one of the founders of ST-6 tell me in 1990 that we would bnever dop hostage rescue again…LOL….you people seem to think history does not repeat itself – you are doomed to repeat it.
            This is what the USS BOSTON, as an example, had:
            3 × triple 8 in (200 mm)/55 caliber guns

            6 × dual 5 in (130 mm)/38 caliber anti-aircraft guns

            12 × quad 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors anti-aircraft guns

            24 × single 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannons
            Armor:Belt: 4–6 in (100–150 mm)

            Deck: 2.5 in (64 mm)
            Barbettes: 6–6.3 in (150–160 mm)
            Turrets: 1.5–8 in (38–203 mm
            If one of the bad guys possessed one of these, currently, and had any discernable air cover and submarine cover, watch out. Our ships, although very C4I capable and knowing where the threats are….have expensive means to carry out the mission. We have nothing like a BOSTON for sea/littoral and shore control. The NEW JERSEY’s presence off Lebanon, and it’s ability to lob Volkswagen beetles 23 miles, was hard to beat.
            While this Longbow system is another addition, the main system should be a 5in forward with two .54mm a beam. The 5in helps NGFS, and missiles can not do illum or smoke missions. 5in .54 doesn’t cost 100k apiece. We should also switch to 155mm, for the next CRU-DES assets, for commonality of ammo with the Marines and Army. That said, the 155mm round at 800k on the ZUM is a joke….someone in the program office needs to be fired if they can’t get a round that cost perhaps 500 bucks….

          • Duane

            Sorry you couldn’t be more wrong. History, in terms of technology, most certainly does not repeat itself.

            Otherwise we’d still be riding horses into battle, and maneuvering our sailing ships into position for a 200 yard broadside and expect to win the naval battle.

            The LCS is armed with a multi-layer defensive system, both guns and missiles, with a primary opponent in the littoral being either small boat swarms, or single or perhaps several light combatants such as naval patrols. That’s what the near-range protection is designed to defeat. We have to defeat the enemy at stand-off range, because a known tactic is to ram a boat, manned or unmanned, into your own vessel and blow it up.

            Given this, we have a very capable multi-layer system of defense.

            The rapid firing (220 rounds per minute) 57 mm gun, with an effective range of up to 9,300 yards (4.6 nm), and a ready supply of 1,000 rounds in the mount, is designed to engage the enemy at the edge of visual range. With its high speed rate of fire and range and ability to traverse a full 360 degrees, this gun can practically expected to reduce any high speed small boat swarm of virtually any hypothetical size … 25 boats? 50? a 100 boats? to zero in but a moment.

            But not wanting to be entirely dependent on a single point failure, the back up longer range fire is the Hellfire Longbow, an effective range also of 5 miles. The LCS carries up to 24 AGM-114 Hellfire Longbows. This is a guided missile, with a dual seeker mode (laser designated or mm wave radar). These are much more expensive than the 57 mm shells, but they’re the “emergency backup”.

            If any attackers manage to penetrate the fires from the 57mm or the Hellfires, then the LCS’s two 30mm chain gun mounts (200 rounds per minute, 3,500 yard effective range) and four 50 cal mounts can engage. Some LCS also carry the smaller Griffin AGM-176 missile, also with an effective range of 5 miles.

            For anti-air, the LCS carries the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launcher with 21 missiles. This is the same AA mount used on a wide variety of US warships including Nimitz and Ford class big deck carriers.

            For long range anti-ship fires, the LCS is now sporting a 4-cell deck launcher qualified for launching either the RGM-84 Harpoon ASCM (67 nm range, 488 pound HEX warhead, radar guided) or the Konigsberg Naval Strike Missile (115 nm range, 276 pound HEX warhead, tri-mode seeker).

            For a small surface combatant, the LCS is pretty damned heavily armed, with the bulk of its weapons designed for the range of opponents anticipated for the LCS in its littoral ops mission.

          • Mxpctlk

            I call BS.

          • Gen. Buck Turgidson

            Always an expert with theory

          • Duane

            Not theory. The weaps systems are as described, most of which are well proven on other vessels but still need to complete the qualification testing on the LCS itself in order to go IOC.

          • draeger24

            Duane, with your first sentence I disagree; that said, then you went on to make some of my points. You also are forgetting that the 30mm are a SuW “bolt on” per the mission; that said, the addition of the HELLFIREs or GRIFFENS is beneficial. These are expensive. I am a fan of the 57mm for it’s round flexibility as it surpasses, in that context, the 76mm. I think you are a bit optimistic in 100 BOGHAMMERS being taken out by one weapon. Those, at last time I checked, did have armor. Taking out the fiberglass commercial boats is a possibility, but not from multiple directions. The Trimaran version of the LCS is aluminum, to my best recollection, and very vulnerable. That said, none of these weapons offer the kind of area suppression needed for Marines – point destruction yes, but at a high cost. We can no longer afford 100,000 to take out a truck. The last few conflicts have negated any kind of need for area suppression, and it is sorely lacking in the LCS.
            As to your first point, technology does not negate many simple TTPs that the enemies use, as we have always, in recent history, seem to be stymied as to what worked in the most recent conflict. After DESERT STORM, the cry for reduced ground forces “because we can do it all in the air” was negated in Bosnia as we targeted outhouses with fake radar dishes – 4 million dollars on a TLAM for an outhouse? It was also negated in IZ and AFG. I remember the Ranger mafia at SOCOM extolling direct action as “we will never do UW again” – UW being a mission area of Special Forces training, advising, equipping, and leading indig. They routed the Taliban in a week with the help of good CIA HUMINT paramilitary officers making the right connections – no technology involved there. Likewise in DESERT STORM, because of the MANTA mine threat, the Marines could not go ashore in Kuwait – so we built up a huge mine warfare force at Ingleside. Now, it has been given back to the Port and the buidings have been leveled. We have few of those ships remaining.
            Technology is great, but it is not a substitute for common sense and the best sensor system there is – the human brain. By the way, we DID use horses and mules in AFG because there was no other way to get there, and, no vehicles could do it.
            Bottom line for my money – we need to armor these LCS’s to take damage and still keep on functioning. Their speed is essential for things like NEO missions, special warfare missions, in the littorals for response time, but, they have to be able to have the flexibility needed in a less expensive and more flexible weapons system such as the 5in or the 155m. Thanks for the discussion as it is needed. You pointed out some relevant issues.

          • Duane

            Sandy – I agree with you that training, preparedness, and tactics are the most important factors in battle, but still subject to technology and machine performance. The USS Arizona was thought to be impregnable against anything but broadsides from another BB … yet a mere single 500 pound bomb dropped by a small Japanese attack aircraft managed to penetrate its deck plates and ignite the magazines killing 1,100 men, regardless of how effective the officers and crew were that Sunday morning, Dec 7, 1941.

            As for armor on the LCS I believe there is some armor on the existing LCS. But armor comes with a price: weight. Weight reduces speed and increases draft.

            The LCS does not really need a lot more added to it for it to accomplish its mission set, other than to complete development of the three mission modules. Latest reports I’ve read is that the ASW module is set to go IOC later this year, and the SuW and Mine Warfare modules next year. Perhaps the designers can fit in a Mk 41 VLS on the next flight of hulls.

          • draeger24

            well, I wish they would come down on one design…the trimaran hull, though it is aluminum, can be stretched for more helos, especially MH-6 little birds. I hope you are correct in there being some armor, at least up to 23mm….as for the ARIZONA, actually, we proved that one of the Japanese submersibles hit it with a torpedo, though the bombs did drop. Also, there were no deck plates – they were timbers, but I understand your point. Good discussion! GOD Bless.

          • ElmCityAle

            This is vastly overstated. Default LCS weapons systems are the 57 mm gun – which is optically aimed only, no radar control – and either RIM-116 with 21 cells or the SeaRAM with 11 cells. Given that the ships have been deployed with no combat fire control systems (promised for the future, a reduced version of the Aegis software), in a strange way, the SeaRAM equipped version are better at this point. And what about the fact that there is about a 90 degree blind spot for either RAM system dead ahead – hard to believe, really. I guess no one will ever attack from that vector. As for anti-ship weapons, a single LCS is mounting Harpoon tubes and the single test fire was with an older version of that weapon – as if there were much newer versions in the navy, which there are not – and the test shot missed. NSM would seem to be a better system for anti-ship, even if the promised new Harpoon version is delivered and works to spec (although newer Harpoon’s land attack option might be nice to have if needed – for example, to counter-attack shore based anti-ship missiles spotted by your drones).

          • Duane

            Stated right out of the published specs for the LCS … every jot and tittle.

            The Navy is already committed to the deck launchers, has prepped an RFP which will hit the pavement this month to buy a large tranche of ASMs … not required to be either the Harpoon or the NSM, but to meet the same basic requirements and fit in the deck mount. This isn’t an idea – it’s reality.

            I agree that the NSM is far advanced over the old Harpoons, and I expect it to be the selected missile … though the Navy may not go all in on a single missile type.

          • Mxpctlk

            Yep!

          • Gen. Buck Turgidson

            especially those ww1 exocets

          • Duane

            The Exocets aren’t obsolete, because they’ve been updated several times … but the Exocets back in 1982 certainly are obsolete and no longer in service. They didn’t have GPS guidance (because GPS didn’t exist in 1982), let alone hardened GPS with inertial nav interface, or mm-wave radar, or imaging infrared homing, or the ability to sense and dodge incoming counter-fire, like the NSM. Nor did or do any of the Exocets have two-way datalink targeting updates or multi-mode passive RF sensor, specific target recognition software, a 500 nm range, and a 1,000 pound warhead like the LRASM.

            Exocets are to NSMs and LRASMs like comparing “portable” 5-pound “brick-phones” of the 1980s to an iPhone 7.

          • ChipinAZ

            The question posed was “How many ship to ship naval (sic) engagements in the past half century have involved guns”. I was not addressing the relevance or changes in technology.

          • Duane

            Technology is everything in naval engagements and how they are fought. Going back 50 years is mostly not relevant to naval warfare as it exists today, all because of technology. You can’t ignore or dismiss the primary driver in naval warfare.

            50 years ago guided missiles were just barely coming into the fleet, with the first guided missile destroyers (originally designated FFGs or frigates) being launched in 1959, and even those earliest class DDGs in the early 60s had only SAM batteries (Terriers), not surface to surface missiles. For surface warfare, it was all about guns and torpedoes 50 years ago. The Harpoon was the first seriously capable, radar-guilded US Navy ASM, and didn’t show up in the fleet until near the late 70s. The Harpoon is fairly primitive compared to the latest generation of ASM.

          • ElmCityAle

            “Operation Praying Mantis involved surface gunfire” – mostly against platforms, which isn’t naval combat. The main surface action involved SM-1 and Harpoon missiles.

          • ChipinAZ

            Joshan was damaged by SM-1s and sunk with gunfire. Both Harpoons launched in that engagement missed.

          • Ctrot

            And they’re cheaper than $100k each missles.

          • Capt DJ

            I loved the 5 inch gun. The swiss army knife of weapon systems. As Combat Systems Officer on the USS Merrill we fired counter-battery against a Russian made ZU-30mm mount during Praying Mantis. First shot out 30 seconds after they opened fire from the Sassan GOSP resulting in a 50 foot air burst directly over the mount which was immediately silenced. That dampened their spirit and the remaining Revolutionary Guard Navy occupants then asked us to hold fire so they could evacuate. Later in my career I also got in trouble for sinking a frigate during a sink-ex. They let me have a 5 inch run on it prior to the missile-ex and torp-ex. They didn’t believe my 5 inch was very effective until the target started going down by the bow. If they didn’t want me to sink it, they shouldn’t have given me the opportunity. A deck gun with a highly trained crew can be highly effective.

      • Apologies, we’ve corrected the story.

      • Duane

        The 57 mm gun is superior to the larger guns for within visual range defense against the range of opponents (small boats up to frigate sized warships) … it has a much higher firing rate and much larger number of shells loaded within the mount than the 76 mm mount. Meaning the 57 mm is far superior in fighting off boat swarms to the 76 mm mount.

        Bigger is not better. Better is better.

        A 76 mm is overkill for close in work, too slow a firing rate too few shells ready at hand, and the HEX charge is way overkill for anything but a frigate or larger target … and for large vessels, that’s what the ASMs are for. The LCS is already proof-fired and ready for either Harpoons or NSMs via deck mount launchers, ASMs that can disable virtually any size warship. The NSM is the superior ASM of the two because of its superior seeker and ability to literally dodge incoming counter-fire, and its significantly longer range (115 nm).

        • Mxpctlk

          About the ONLY thing an LCS might take on and win against is a fast boat. A frigate, and it’s game over for the US LCS.

          • Duane

            Not true … LCS now carry 4-cell deck mount missile launchers that have been field tested firing both Harpoons and NSMs, either one of which is capable of taking just about any ship out of action. The same ASMs all our other warships carry. The Navy also intends to fit the LRASM to the LCS launcher as well.

          • Mxpctlk

            1 – While Harpoon is an upgrade, it’s hardly “capable of taking just about any ship out of action…”

            2 – The only LCS I’d feel somewhat comfy serving on and going into harm’s way would be the Saudi variant. Though still highly vulnerable, it at least packs a punch. Those US ships are paper-thin, low survivable and waaaaay under armed.

            3 – I suspect you’re a LM employee…

          • Duane

            1 – the Harpoon has been our standard ASM in the fleet for more than 35 years … in fact, the SSN I served on did the initial sub-launch qualification firings of the Harpoon back in 1978. The warhead is more than powerful enough to disable any ship if it hits in a vital spot – nearly 500 pounds of HEX. However, the guidance system on the Harpoon is obsolete compared to new missiles like the NSM. I expect that the NSM is the leader in the clubhouse for use on the LCS.

            2 – Well comfort is your own choice … but no, the arming of the LCS is very strong, counter to your statement and as I detail elsewhere in this thread.

            3 – No, I am no employee, contractor, lobbyist, etc. etc. for LM or any other defense contractor. I just want our military to be equipped with great equipment. And for littoral ops, there is no finer ships on the planet than our two existing variants of the LCS. Stop confusing the LCS with a frigate … a frigate is a frigate, and an LCS is an LCS. Just like an aircraft carrier is not a submarine, and a destroyer is not a cruiser.

          • Mxpctlk

            You’re the one who mentioned a frigate… If you think the poorly-armed, thin-skinned, built-to-civilian-specs LCS can take on much more than a fast boat armed with 2 Somali pirates and AKs – you’re delusional. Any Sailors going into harm’s way on an LCS that is unescorted by more capable warships – is in peril. Believe what you wish but this SWO is calling BS.

          • Duane

            You could not possibly be more wrong. Not even worth debating you when you simple assert preposterous wacky statements. Go away.

        • old guy

          DUANE, Please read my comment and come back at me.

        • old guy

          The best guns used in the war game were a dual 40 mm Bofors
          and a multie-barrel 20mm Oerlikon

        • Duane

          Also, in addition to all of the above, BOFORS, the maker of the Mark 110 57mm gun system, has also recently developed a new munition for that gun that is expressly designed for high speed swarming boat targets as well as aircraft … it’s called the Mark 295 Mod 1 guided shell. Upon firing fins pop out and guide the projectile to the target via a multi-mode seeker, using any of three different laser designating modes and one autonomous optical seeker mode. Precise to within 1 meter, “one hit to kill”, with a fragmentation warhead loaded with 1.4 kg (3.1 pounds) of lethal steel fragments. The shell is electronically programmed by the fire control system prior to each fire to use any of three fusing modes (timed, proximity, and point detonation), effective to 10 km (5.4 mi).

      • John Burtis

        So, we build a ship designed to go in close to the enemy shore where the speed boats and munitions will be thick as flies on a carcass and arm it as cheaply as possible, then send it to sea and once there, only then do we start testing close in defense missiles. Why didn’t we just buy Dutch or German frigates which come armed and ready to fight? Remember, these ships may not always encounter small combatants. On the high seas you might encounter any type of ship and you must be prepared for it. Our colors never run.

        • Duane

          Frigates aren’t LCS. Only LCS are LCS. Why is it that difficult to understand? It’s like an airplane is not a ship, and a tank is not a truck. Frigates cannot do what an LCS does. Frigates and LCS are not interchangeable.

      • NEC338x

        Exactly. I think Chuck Hill’s Coast Guard blog illustrated that nicely with his post on “What does it take to sink a ship, illustrated”. Unlike a derelict hulk, the enemy will be shooting back and performing evasive maneuvers.

    • Alberto Triana

      Why do journalist make so many mistakes on military matters. It is so embarrassing. They are supposed to be professionals.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    “the Maritime Security Module”

    I wonder is it only in the USN that sticking a rhib on a ship now necessitates its own grandiose project title?

    No doubt the teams of pentagon & navy staffers will expend many thousands of meeting hours formulating a 2 year plan on putting a rhib on a ship.

    • ksmack

      Some things never change.

      • old guy

        But putting 100 RIBs on a ship, capable of SWARM chaotic operation is whole, different matter.

  • dog lover

    Highly under armed. Boat should be ready for by type of enfagement

    • Duane

      Nope – you could not be more wrong. See my summary above of the standard LCS armament package. From 50 cal all the way up to Harpoon and NSM, and a whole bunch of weaps in between, for both surface action and AA. Plus ASW (Mk 46 or 54 lightweight homing torpedoes) via the carried MH-60.

  • DaSaint

    Sam, 76mm deck gun? Really? You do work for USNI, right?

    • I do and it was my mistake.

      • draeger24

        Cut him a break, fellas…Sam is an honest broker…it was an honest mistake….give me a Sam LaGrone on NBC’s “Meet the Depressed” instead of Chuckie Cheese Todd, who never held a job in his life, or instead of George “I polished Hillary’s shoes) Snuffilufficus on “This Week” anyday…The media would be a thousand times better and more honest…Keep charging, Sam….

        • old guy

          I give a loud HUZZAH to that. He has a big load to sort through and correction of a mistake should be delivered with a bit of humility and understanding.. I’m only sorry that our news reporting is not as unbiased and direct.

          • draeger24

            Sir, a coupla months ago, you said NAVSEA put out an RFI on developing “life” from seawater back in the 90’s, I think….do you remember when that was? I am using it for a Christian apologetics argument that one of my atheist friends seems to dismiss. Thanks much! GOD Bless.

          • old guy

            Sorry, that was not me. I did say that NAVSEA had put out an RFI(orP) for studies of sea animal bioluminescence, which I will search for in my copious(but not orderly)archives.

  • a new hope

    LCS easily could be equipped w the cheap 250 km range Israeli Delilah accurate mini cruise missile which also can be carried by Blackhawk helicopters extending its range to 500 km plus
    Israel also has a new Mach 3 antiship missiles
    There are options for the USN and the LCS
    It is their bureaucratic mind set which impedes progress
    The small deck guns could be replaced by a more powerful design

    • DaSaint

      Please indicate what INS vessels have the weapons you describe? A cheap 250 km cruise missile? Really? Blackhawks are not carried by naval vessels. And what new world beating Mach 3 missIle is this? Concept or deployed in numbers?

      • Duane

        The MH-60 is the Navy version of the Blackhawk and is the standard rotary wing ASW and general purpose aircraft on all of our small combatants and larger warships.

    • Duane

      The Navy has already successfully test fired both the Harpoon and the NSM from 4-cell deck mounts on both the Independence and Freedom class LCS. The Navy is scheduled to release an RFP this month for a large purchase of ASMs that can be fired from the deck mount launcher. If the Delilah is capable of doing that and the manufacturer submits a competitive bid for the ASM buy, they can participate too.

      The Delilah provides a much smaller HEX warhead, only 66 pounds, whereas the NSM carries a 276 pound warhead. So the Delilah could be effective against perhaps smaller surface combatants up to frigate size with precision targeting, but not so much for larger destroyer and cruiser sized targets.

      Larger deck guns are precisely the wrong way to go. They have half the firing rate of the 57mm, and hold only half as many shells ready in the mount as the 57mm. The purpose of the 57mm is to provide rapid firing defense within visual range or just beyond against high speed swarming small combatants and against mid-sized combatants like frigates within short to medium range. For longer range and frigate to virtually any sized combatant, the deck mounted ASM launcher with the equivalent of a Harpoon, NSM, or (if it fits) Delilah or similar works just fine.

      • draeger24

        I say put a 57mm on each beam, and a 5in forward. Lengthen it, beef up the engines, and add armor. Voila.

        • Duane

          Then you’d have a frigate, not an LCS … and therefore too slow and deep drafted to fight in the tight confines, shallow waters of estuaries and barrier islands where we have to chase down bad guys in swift boats.

          • PolicyWonk

            We don’t have that with LCS either. According to former CNO Greenert, neither version of LCS “was intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat…”.

          • Duane

            Obviously not true at all. You might note the name of the ship type.

            I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the “Littoral No Combat Ship” … and it’s not the “Not Littoral Combat Ship”.

            Per the official US Navy summary, published on the USN Surfpac webpage:

            “LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.”

          • PolicyWonk

            Sorry, but the ships designation merely represents a massive defrauding the of the taxpayers. The funds for the street fighter project that came out of the ONR were usurped (stolen) by the blue water crowd to create a Franken-ship that’s too big for the littorals, and too small for blue water. It’s not arctic capable, and has very little room for growth without severely impacting performance.

            It has failed to delivery on ANY of the promises made by the LCS program office, and represents little more than a blatant corporate welfare program,

            Not one single favorable, independent report has yet to come the way of LCS, which was scorched even by the navy’s inspector general as unlikely to survive the missions it would be assigned by naval commanders.

            That it’s failed to deliver on any of its so called innovations makes it a loser for the navy, and taxpayers. The only winners are Lockheed, Austal, and our potential adversaries.

          • Duane

            You’re just trolling dude.

          • PolicyWonk

            Unfortunately not. Apparently, you don’t follow defense issues or have been too lazy to follow the LCS program.

            The LCS program reflects virtually everything thats wrong with how the DoD acquires weapons – because what is called the “littoral combat ship” was never intended to engage in combat by DESIGN.

            This is the unfortunate fact. Go to Breaking Defense dot com and read the interview with former CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert regarding LCS. Then read the article of the naval armament expert on the same site, that worked through the options for up-arming/protecting the so-called LCS.

            Read the DOT&E report regarding the so-called “frigate” version – which will only represent a marginal improvement – at best – for a far higher cost. What we call the Littoral Combat Ship already costs more than our allies high-end frigates – yet it delivers only a fraction of the ROI. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough – the Saudi’s and Israeli navies both turned LCS down citing the staggering cost and tiny ROI as the reasons for looking elsewhere.

            The Saudi’s have since negotiated a deal with LockMart to build a frigate based on a much larger Freedom class sea-frame, that is far better armed and protected at a superior price point. So our navy has failed this nation and its sailors miserably. And now the criminals in the LCS program office want to base a frigate on a design and concept that completely failed to meet any of its objectives.

            These are the lamentable facts.

            And if you look at ANY other naval vessel in the same size range of any other navy – you’ll see a vastly better armed and protected ship that came at a far better price. And in fact – LCS is so poorly designed and armed that a Skjold-class missile boat that costs a small fraction of what LCS does would clean its clock without fear of reprisal.

            Cheers.

          • Duane

            Wrong, totally wrong, you are just trolling with your alternative facts. Give it up dude. Are you getting paid in rubles or dollars?

          • PolicyWonk

            I see that you’re a pathological liar – probably working for Austal or LockMart, or are otherwise one of the liars/criminals working for the so-called “Littoral Combat Ship” program office.

            The reports from DOT&E, the OMB, and the USN’s own inspector general are all available on-line. Furthermore, the interview from Adm. Jonathan Greenert and other articles I referenced are also available on-line at Breaking Defense Dot Com.

            Thanks to fools (or worthless dupes/communists/enemies) like yourself – the national security of the United States and the lives of the sailors ordered to serve on worthless ships that are so lame that they aren’t even built to the lowest naval construction standard (Level 1), and had to be granted a legal waiver to commissioned into the US Navy.

            This one, is according to Defense Intelligence Dailey – who revealed a year ago that the LCS Program Office finally admitted that no version of LCS – present or future – will ever meet requirements for even the lowest of naval construction standards.

          • Duane

            I have no financial ties to any defense contractor.

            But you are hallucinatory and wacko with your assertions of criminality.

            Go back to Comrade Putin and inform him that you have failed him yet again in your trolling mission. He’s already paid you too many rubles or too many bottles of vodka.

          • PolicyWonk

            You are without credibility and have zero connection with the facts.

            Since my assertions lead directly to the sources for your handy reference, and since you willfully ignore them, then you are a little more than a clown.

            Go and troll a site where ignorant fools will buy your brand of BRAVO SIERRA.

          • draeger24

            well, it might behoove us to look at some of the corvette designs like the Swedes have. Point is, the LCS has great speed, and, it’s primary mission at first glance is to support Marines and the Fleet;hence, my argument for a 5in. We do need that speed, though. These could be excellent “Point Control Ships” that the LPD on an ARG usually handles, but, it is very vulnerable. These could do that job with manueverability and its SPY radar much more effectively. Anyway, we shall see where the new SECNAV takes all this – it will be interesting! GOD Bless…

          • Duane

            A corvette, just like a frigate, is not an LCS. A corvette is a very small blue water subchaser vessel. Very different mission and environment. A corvette simply cannot do what an LCS does. They were used in large numbers in World War Two because they were extremely small and cheap, typically well under 2,000 tons, and being convoy escorts they did not need to be fast, and typically had top speeds of around half that of a destroyer of that era.

            There is no need to reinvent the LCS – it is already invented, developed and is now being mass produced. It works extremely well for its littoral combat mission.

  • Western

    It boggles the mind how the US can spend millions of dollars on a new missile design for what might be 30 boats with outboard engines with small arms or explosives. One AC-130 gun ship escort with it’s ancient and conventional weapons would be more than a match for the swarm fleet. Our rules of engagement must be changed to allow us to follow the threat back to their home port and eliminate it.

    • Duane

      This is an old missile design, the AGM-114 Hellfire Longbow … we’ve had them in the inventory for over 34 years now. It was always planned for the LCS, and this is reporting on the continued testing and development of the Surface Warfare Module of which the Hellfire is but one element.

    • Voice_of_Reason

      HELLFIRE is not a new design. It’s been used by the Army in SAL since the 80’s, and in Longbow form since the late 90s.

  • jon spencer

    How hard would it be to combine a CROW’s system with a GAU-19?
    Think of it as a .50 cal. CWIS. without the expense of the fire control system.
    Both are already on the “shelf”.

    • Duane

      The LCS already comes standard equipped with four .50 cal mgs and two 30-mm chain gun mounts for close in work. Though the Hellfire is good at ranges as little as 500 m.

    • ElmCityAle

      One of the LCS versions (the trimaran) already uses remote controlled .50 mini-Typhoon systems.

      • jon spencer

        I did not know that, thanks.
        When I looked it up, I saw were they are also combining it with a Spike missile too.
        The ability to have the operator away from the weather decks and to be able to use the cameras day or night to scan seem to be much better than a Lookout on the wing with a pair of binoculars.
        With remote viewing screens, what the cameras are looking at could be seen about anywhere. Like on the Quarterdeck in port and the bridge while underway.
        Was thinking that in certain situations that it would not look that threatening if the gun barrel is pointing straight up too. Most would see a piece of machinery moving.

  • RobM1981

    Good stuff. I might not like the overall concept, but the capability is important.

    The issue is, and will remain, political. Iran has made “near misses” the norm. If/when they decide to actually attack, their boats will already be deeply inside the envelope of this capability. There will be very little reaction time.

  • ksmack

    I find this to be a sound choice, utilizing known technology already in the supply chain. Given the littoral environment, this concept fits the intent of the system. Some would recommend this or that for the LCS, attempting to make it into something it isn’t. Over the Horizon capability just isn’t part of this concept, and if tactical planning is done, that factor should be addressed with the presence of DDG / FFG type craft, or even land based aircraft.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      So, they were testing OTH missiles last year for the fun of it?

      • delta9991

        OTH missiles tested last year were for the planned up-gun and meant for targets of equal or larger size. The hellfires are the right system to defeat small fast boats like those which hit the Saudis recently. Different missiles for different missions. You wouldn’t launch an NSM/Harpoon at a boghammer same as you wouldn’t launch a Hellfire at a traditional surface combatant.

        • Duane

          Tthe Navy is installing 4-cell deck mounts for medium to long range ASMs on all their deployable LCS going forward, and has already written an RFP for a ASM buy for the LCS that is to be released this month.

          The frigate design, whatever the Navy determines it to be – and they haven’t published squat yet about required frigate design features – will almost certainly include a Mk 41 or equivalent VLS capable of launching a range of full size ASMs. But you have to design that feature into the hull, much harder to retrofit an existing LCS hull.

          The VLS for the Hellfires is probably a junior sized version of the Mk 41 – though they didn’t provide any dimensions or claim ability to handle larger ASMs in this release. The Hellfire is only 64 in long and weighs 108 pounds.

          Whereas a Harpoon is 12 1/2 ft long and weighs over 1,500 pounds.

          • delta9991

            Agreed, my comment was about upgunning the entire fleet, not just the FF with the as yet unspecified OTH missile. As for the hellfires, their VLS is not anything similar to a mini-mk41. The SSMM is just 6 M299 hellfire rails rotated to launch vertically.

          • ElmCityAle

            The Hellfire launch platform has nothing to do with VLS systems like the MK 41, or even the MK 56. It appears to be (based upon public information like the videos), quite frankly, a quick hack. That’s not the end of the world and a good hack that is cost effective and works is OK, but it’s nothing like the VLS that those ships need if they are ever expected in roles other than mine-sweeping and anti-sub warfare.

          • Duane

            You’re arguing over semantics. A “VLS” is a generic term meaning “Vertical Launch System” … a generic term for any multi-celled vertical launch mechanism for missiles. The VLS for the Hellfire is sized for the Hellfire, a very small missile compared to the missiles that launch from the Mk 41, which is the most commonly used VLS on US Navy and many allied warships.

  • ArmChairGeneral

    Ok that video was pretty cool. Good step to defending the ship against small attack boats. A lot of work to do yet.

  • Voice_of_Reason

    The Longbow HELLFIRE is ~ 100 lb missile carried by 10 ton AH-64D/E attack helicopters.

    It’s a very good missile but small and short range.

    You can’t fit a bigger, longer range missile on a LCS weighing thousands of tons??

    Reminds me of how the 300 ton Cyclone class was recently fitted with 2 quad launchers for the tiny Griffin missiles, which are smaller than HELLFIRES. So a 300 ton ship is only carrying 8 ea 45 lb missiles, while an AH-64 carries 16 ea 100+ lb missiles.

    Why is the Navy putting so little armament on their LCS and patrol ships?

    • mmac1

      Hellfire for small boat swarms hence the shorter range- such swarms will only be identifiable at closer range- no need for more than 8 km range (the swarm will come out of crowded waters not transoceanic). Also the hellfire can be locked on after launch & therefore can fire a salvo of missiles & their small size means many can be carried. The NSM is meant to fight larger vessels at range, not swarms of small boats. The hellfire will give the ship a layered defense to swarms- Hellfire, 57mm, 30mm(w/in 1 mile), 50 cal. (not to mention armed helicopters from the LCS)

      • Voice_of_Reason

        if it’s crowded you can’t use the radar seeker mode. so much for your hypothesis.

        • Duane

          Radar works the same, no matter how many targets. Hellfire comes with a fire and forget mode … or it can be laser designated too. Can lase from the ship’s deck, or from either of its two aircraft (the MH-60 or the drone chopper). Both of the aircraft also carry and fire Hellfires, and the MH-60 also carries a gun.

          • Voice_of_Reason

            you don’t know what you are talking about. the Longbow radar cannot “identify” targets – it can detect, acquire, etc., but cannot identify. you cannot use it in a crowded environment unless ALL of the radar returns are from identified bad guys.

          • Duane

            Guess what … you are the one who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. When a swarm of small boats are on a direct collision course with your vessel, they’re ALL targets. Fire the Hellfires one at a time unit the threat consists of smoking wreckage on the sea.

          • Voice_of_Reason

            so f it’s a free-fire situation, why fire “one at a time”? you can launch RF HELKFIRE salvoes one after another.

          • Duane

            The CO can do whatever the situation calls for.

            With current seeker technology, and lacking two-way datalink of today, you don’t want to fire a large salvo and potentially waste Hellfires targeting and hitting the same target. With a 5-mile range and closing velocities of likely 50 knots or less (a lot less in heavy seas), there is plenty of time to sequence individual Hellfire launches to take out all of the targets one by one.

            Eventually I do expect an upgrade to the Hellfire seeker that will allow some combination of target discrimination and 2-way datalink to prevent common targeting by multiple fires in a salvo.

            If vis is good (i.e., no fog) just stick with the 57mm which in a minute or two can plausibly wipe out dozens of attacking boats from as far out as 9.600 yards, with its 3.7 rounds per second rate of fire and 1,000 rounds stored in the mount. That may be the end of story.

            Whatever manages to get through that layer of fire, the LCS can stitch them good with the two 30mms starting at 3,500 yards out, also at 200 rpm. And then the four fifties can start in at 2,000 yards out.

            Of course, if the ship is well alerted in good time, it can also send out both the MH-60 R/S chopper far beyond 5 nm if needed, which also carries Hellfires, a laser designator, and a 30mm chain gun. Plus each LCS also carries the MQ-8 Firescout which also carries Hellfire and also does the lasing for the other Hellfires fired from ship or the manned chopper.

            If it’s all fogged up such as to prevent lasing for the Hellfires, or using the EOTC system on the 57mm, the Hellfires in radar mode are available starting at 5 nm, and as close in as 500 yards. And of course, the LCS can also run at up to 46 knots while firing away.

          • Voice_of_Reason

            hitting the same target isn’t the issue. even the Block I Longbow FCR could track 256 targets. an Apache could salvo on up to 16 targets that way, limited by wing stores not radar returns. I assume the LCS has a radar at least as capable as the Lonbgbow.

            the issue is that you don’t know what those targets really are based on radar returns. The Army did a lot of work capturing radar returns of various Russian vehicles from multiple angles, but it can still not positively identify a target.

          • Duane

            Vehicles on ground is not similar at all to surface vessels when it comes to radar returns. Between terrain and vegetation, radar returns are much more scattered than from small vessels at sea. In any event, whatever developmental difficulties the Army experienced with the Hellfire in its early days, when it did not include a mm wave radar which is highly precise, it clearly evolved into the world’s deadliest anti-vehicle small air to surface missile, used repeatedly with great success throughout the Middle Eastern wars and world wide war on terror of the last decade and a half.

            The Longbow version, as tested and used on the LCS, has the fire and forget mm wave radar seeker designed specifically for working in adverse weather and through obscurants (i.e., smoke).

            If you are trying to assert that the Hellfire is a fraud and doesn’t work on radar, there’s a heckuva lot of folks in our military who know better.

          • Voice_of_Reason

            you miss the point entirely and you completely mischaracterize what I wrote. the Army didn’t experience difficulties with the HELLFIRE. It’s a great short range missile.

            The point is that the radar cannot identify targets. That’s why the Army used SAL HF in OEF and OIF and not RF HF; I think the number of RF HF used in combat is probably less than 5 or 10, while thousands of SAL HF have been used. If you KNOW a target is enemy, fire away. If you have a mix of enemy, unknowns, and innocent bystanders, you can’t safely use the RF HF.

          • Duane

            There are no friendlies in the midst of a high speed small boat swarm, by definition. Blast away.

          • Voice_of_Reason

            And yet don’t they hide amongst commercial traffic, just like VBIEDs (I hate that modern term for “car bombs”) do on land?

            not sure that many countries want every vessel in transit to be sunk by the USN trying to sink some Iranian boghamners.

          • Duane

            No they don’t. “Innocent” fishing and transport vessels don’t “hide” in a flotilla of high speed (50 kts or higher) speedboats headed directly for and in close proximity an obviously visible warship.

            Only combatants behave that way. You’re being simply and obtusely ridiculous.

          • Voice_of_Reason

            that’s not what i said. of course commercial vessels aren’t going to be going 50kts.

            but it’s a published tactic that small attack boats will sometimes blend with commercial traffic until ready to attack.

          • Duane

            It wouldn’t be sensible to attack loitering vessels,and give them a wide berth if practical … but any CO and his SuWOs will sure as heck keep a sharp watch on any such loitering flotillas, if they suddenly take off and start converging on our own vessel, be prepared to respond.

            What I definitely don’t like is situations like the one last week where the US radar picket, being escorted by three Brit warships, allowed Iranian boats to within 600 yards. Way too close, and not enough time to react if they continued on a collision course. Minimum firing range for the Hellfire is 500m, and that’s not even much opportunity to go to battle stations and be prepped to give’m heck from the guns.

            If it were up to me I’d publicize to the whole world a warning that any non-allied converging vessels, no matter the size, that approach a US naval vessel (or that of an ally) at high speeds within 2000 yards will be considered hostile and immediately blown out of the water. And we’d better be monitoring them and prepared to go to battle stations long before they get to 2,000 yards.

    • draeger24

      AMEN….remember the PHM’s – hydro-foils with a 76mm? Small, fast, and agile.

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    How about testing it the next time the little boats come out like they did two days ago,,apparently the brits did not react

  • Jon

    Army had craptons of these missiles in storage gathering dust. It’s better (marginally) than nothing…

    • NEC338x

      Damning with faint praise. At this point the acolytes will take whatever positive comment they can get.

      • Jon

        They managed to fire a missile designed for a 12k lbs. helo from a 3kt ship. Without the ship disintegrating, and apparently without the ship breaking.

        The acolytes should be turning cartwheels. Unless the tug was hovering outside of the camera frame.

  • old guy

    HOORAY. After 35 tears of cajoling and a war game I won 26 years ago, at NWC (I was Orange Leader) Blue NCA was a one-star, future VCNO. With Djibouti taken, thereby blocking the British fleet in the Red Sea, taking all the Saudi-American airbases with “Pomornik” hovercraft, we wiped out the U.S. fleet with Komar and Osa swarm boats. No one took it seriously.
    Let’s hope that Navy realizes now that volume, not magnitude of fire is what is needed to wipe out these small craft, which will be deployed in dozens or even hundreds.

    • Duane

      Agreed … volume of fire, and layered defenses too. It’s always possible for one layer to fail due to a mechanical jam, power supply zap, who knows … the 57 mm is a great gun for fighting off the swarms, but if it goes out of action, you just lost an entire layer. That’s where the Hellfires come in … and a bit closer in the 2 30mm guns can join the party, and eventually down to the four 50 cals.

      Same thing applies to AA fires as well.

      • old guy

        I have studied the probable tactics, with both manned and unmanned RIBs.
        The technique that is the most effective (playing a small war game of my own design) is too have over 30 boats with a chaotic course setting and collision avoidance and bring them in from multiple origins. A WOW (wall of water) using floating line charges is a good adjunct. It is also effective against supersonic missiles.
        But again intensity of fire is much more important than caliber of weapons.

        • Duane

          Yup. The layering of the rapid firing guns on the LCS (57mm, 30mm, and .50 cal) should be sufficient to reduce the swarm to zero, or very near zero. Anything that makes it past that multi-screen, as long as it starts far enough out, can be handled by the Hellfire, which is good as close as 500 m.

          I’ve seen the Navy video where they fired the 57mm at (actually just abeam of) drone fast boats approaching at high speeds. People read that the 57mm Bofors fires at 220 rpm, and they don’t get what that means, it’s just a number on a web page. But when you witness the firing rate on real time video, it’s impressive as heck! 220 rpm is 3.7 rounds PER SEC. In the demo fire, the 57 mm stitched a very neat, closely spaced line of hits in the water just a few feet abeam of the speed boats traveling at upwards of 50+ mph. The gun fired short bursts of maybe 3-5 rounds .. if the shooters were actually trying to hit the target, more than likely at least several rounds would have landed home on each boat. The 13-pound fragmentary HEX charge in each round of the 57mm would be enough to blow the boat sky high. That’s more than 30 times the frag charge of a US M-67 hand grenade.

          Each of the two 30 mm mounts on the LCS also have a 200 rpm firing rate at up to 3,500 yards effective firing range, and the four .50 cal M2s are good for over 800 rpm at up to 2,000 yards effective firing range.

          Oh, I almost forgot – the LCS also carries a SH-60 Seahawk, the naval version of the MH-60 Blackhawk .. besides carrying ASW torpedoes, these also come equipped with Hellfires, M-60 7.62mm guns, and a Mk44 Bushmaster 30mm chain gun, and the ability to engage small boat swarms from much longer ranges, or sense the bogies and call in fire from other aircraft or ships. Plus each LCS also carries a MQ-8B Fire Scout drone which provides long endurance threat sensing and laser targeting, ranging all around any quadrant from which small boat or aircraft threats may emerge.

  • Adrian Ah

    There have been several attacks in the Middle East using RPG’s or anti tank weapons. My preference is for the 30mm guns to be replaced by phalnx’s. They use them at land forts on a daily basis for this reason.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    I’ve been on other blogs where the discussion involved defending against small boat ‘swarm attacks’. Anything, repeat ANYTHING, that can detect and destroy such a threat would be a great addition to any ship. And the farther out they can do so, the better. But, I’ve seen the scenarios where small rockets, RPGs and machine guns are considered the biggest threats from them. I think the biggest threat is them ramming a ship while loaded up with explosives, i.e., a Cole-like attack when underway. So having a truly lethal system that can deal with those threats that the other weapons (like the various gun systems or missiles mentioned in the comments below, and the Hellfire described in this article) don’t take out is a must. At least, I believe it is.

    To that end, I ask this: what about a weapon that is based on and similar to the Hedgehog system used against U-boats in WWII? This would be a last ditch capability (along with the smaller sized machine guns and cannons carried), so range (though certainly the longer the better) wouldn’t need be that great of a consideration. But Hedgehogs saturated an area of the surface with depth bombs, that of course sank and exploded upon contact with a submerged object. What if such a weapon fired out a (large and wide) spread of bomblets that exploded upon hitting the surface (and small craft), and/or had an air-burst capability? Such a weapon should be ‘aim-able’. Whether it is ‘bolted on’ to the deck or ‘installed’ in a manner that penetrates the deck I’ll leave to the experts. Certainly it should be able to be immediately reloaded (again, leaving it to the experts to determine if it should be reloaded by hand or mechanically). I think such an approach has some promise. But I ask: how about you? Is this feasible? Is it a reasonable and logical approach?

    Thank you…

    • Duane

      A hedgehog is basically a mass mortar (ballistic) depth bomb .. no relationship to what is needed for defending against swarming surface boats. You can’t aim a hedgehog with any precision, and it is strictly an extremely-close in weapon. You never ever want to let the threats get that close on the surface. In the old days of ASW, during WWII it worked fine against subs, since the killer finds the sub, essentially straddles the sub down below, and saturates the area to the side and aft with charges. The killer had to get close to get a kill down below.

      As old guy states below, the way to eliminate small boat swarms is with massed rapid aimed fire.

      Which is exactly what the LCS is armed with. The relatively expensive but very deadly guided missile Hellfire is actually the last ditch defense for any boats that manage to make it past the hail of fire from the other three weaps system.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        I understand what the Hedgehog WAS. The point is about producing a modern one that is for use against small, and possibly massed, SURFACE targets only. I was quite specific that the development of such a weapon must make it ‘aimable’. And yes, it is for the extremely close situations that the other weapons systems, like the guns and missiles and rockets and whatever else, do not succeed in taking out. Something measured in yards as opposed to hundreds or thousands of yards away. Absolutely no one wants any threat to get that close, but no one wants to have to rely on a CIWS either to take down a sea skimming missile, because that means all else has failed.

        But oh well. Thanks for the reply. Interesting stuff…

        • Duane

          The only way that a “hedgehog” in any form could be effective would be if it were laser guided … just as there are laser-guided mortars these days, and then it would still be limited to extremely short range. If you’ve let boat swarms get that close (a few hundred yards at most), you’re probably already defeated.

          If you aren’t specifically guiding the munition to where it homes in right to the target, you’re just wasting ammo.

          Old guy is right that it takes massed fire to defeat boat swarms, but it’s not massed fire as in just trying to fill space with projectiles. Massed but yet very precise fire is necessary.

  • publius_maximus_III

    “Navy Tests Anti-Swarm Boat Missile on Littoral Combat Ship USS Detroit” — Man, that headline had me going for second. I thought the “Swarm-er” in the test had been an LCS, not the opposite. I knew there was a lot of animosity toward that class of ship, but thought it a bit premature to be using them for target practice already.

  • Ed L

    swarm tactics against small boat formations. what about M134 Minigun, 7.62X51mm range a 1,000 yards, Three thousand plus round magazine. Couple with the 25 mm Chain Gun and the good old fashion M2 50 caliber

  • airider

    If this is a stepping stone toward an ASuW OTHM missile that can be used on the CG’s, DDG,s, LCS’s, and anything that follows, then great. The problem with using Hellfire for the swarm boat defense is that it’s a losing battle in the weapon cost vs threat cost arena. Hellfire’s now go for $110k a piece. The swarm boats they’re looking to engage top out at around $20k new…most likely the boats the enemy may use are not new.

    Hellfires are still being used all the time on multiple platforms so the Army inventory won’t last forever, and the older missiles will be disposed of since you can’t store them forever.

    Best option I still see for this mission are more guns in the 40mm and lower range ($90 or less per round). This should help keep the cost per swam boat engagement low for a multi-round engagement.