As the U.S. military rolls out its budget request for the 2019 fiscal year, one area that is likely to see newly increased attention is the development and purchase of land-based anti-ship weapons. The U.S. Army is already planning to sink a target ship with a truck-mounted anti-ship cruise missile in a major exercise as concerns grow about both near-peer and smaller states expanding their ability to control strategic waterways around the world, especially China’s militarization of the South China Sea.
In January 2018, Navy Recognition confirmed that the Army would fire at least one Naval Strike Missile (NSM) at a decommissioned ship from a launcher on the back of a 10×10 Palletized Load System (PLS) truck during Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018, a massive annual U.S.-run international maritime drill that typically occurs near Hawaii in the summer. It”s not clear whether or not the launcher is on a self-contained pallet, but such an arrangement could allow the vehicle to either fire it after moving to a specific location or unload it so troops have established a temporary fixed launch site. Poland already fields a land-based version of the NSM, but using a different type of truck. Norwegian firm Kongsberg designed the NSM, which it now builds in cooperation with American defense contractor Raytheon.
“We think that the emphasis on cross domain and bringing all shooters together in a distributed fashion to mass on a target or targets provides a wonderful opportunity, we are just really excited about it,” Gary Holst, Senior Director of Business Development at Kongsberg told Navy Recognition at the Surface Navy Association”s 2018 National Symposium in Washington, D.C.
“The missile, no matter where you shoot it from, can hit moving targets at sea or can hit a target stationary ashore so it is designed from the get go to be a cross domain capable weapon,” Tom Copeman, Vice President of Business Development at Raytheon Missile Systems Air Warfare Systems division, added.