The U.S. Navy is currently looking at add new over-the-horizon missiles for their littoral combat ships in the coming months, Defense News recently reported.
The Navy wants to not only make the littoral combat ships (LCS) more lethal, but it also wants to arm future frigates and make the LCS tougher against nations such as Russia and China.
Currently, two companies – Raytheon and Kongsberg – have submitted a joint proposal for the government contract, known as the Naval Strike Missile
Raytheon/Kongsberg’s new Naval Strike Missile has a range of more than 100 nautical miles with target-recognition capabilities. This kind of feature limits the need for other ships or aircraft to hold a track on a target. The missile would be launched from canisters on deck similar to the Navy’s current anti-surface weapons and may also free up planned vertical launch cells for other missions.
In recent months, the Navy has already awarded more than $15 million in government contracts to Huntington Ingalls, Lockheed Martin, Austal USA, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for their work in designing new frigates. The Navy will narrow down potential designs to a single construction contract by June 2019.
The contracts also contain options that could increase in value to between $22 million and $23 million, according to the contract announcement.
The Navy will likely award the contract by the end of the summer, with the campaign a part of the U.S. military’s effort to ensure the Navy’s littoral combat ships (LCS) can take on any enemy.
Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy said that Naval Strike Missile would be an important addition to both LCS and any future warships.
“This is a program where, Raytheon and Kongsberg, as a team, we submitted a proposal for something we called the Naval Strike Missile, which is the Navy’s over-the-horizon weapons system that they need to put on the LCS. But turns out they’re also going to put them on all the future frigates,” Kennedy said.
“We think we’re in a very good position there,” he continued. “We have a system that requires minimum development. Some small changes we’ll make, but we can go into production very quickly, which is something the United States Navy needs. We are anticipating an award here in Q2 [quarter two] with significant more funds placed against it in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget to move forward with that program.”
The Raytheon/Kongsberg offering is the only submission to the U.S. Navy, following Boeing and Lockheed Martin pulling their bids.
Boeing hoped to incorporate its Harpoon missiles, and Lockheed Martin submitted its Long-Range Anti-Surface missiles, but both companies were met with hurdles during development. The companies also apparently felt as though the U.S. Navy was already favoring Raytheon/Kongsberg.