US Navy conducts initial LCS SSMM tests | World Defense

US Navy conducts initial LCS SSMM tests


Dec 5, 2014
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US Navy conducts initial LCS SSMM tests
Robin Hughes, London - IHS Jane's Missiles & Rockets
03 August 2015

Three modified AGM-114L missiles fired from the USNS Relentless engage HSMSTs during Guided Test Vehicle-1 in June 2015. Source: US Navy

Key Points
  • AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire SSMM solution is expected to be integrated and mission ready for early increments and testing on LCS by late 2017
The US Navy has conducted engineering development tests of a modified AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire Missile in support of an intended lethality increment for both classes of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) platform.

The navy in April 2014 selected the AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire as the surface-to-surface missile for early increments and testing for the LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package (SuW MP) requirement. In July of the same year, the navy confirmed Longbow Hellfire as "the selected missile" for the LCS SuW MP engagement requirement per the LCS Capabilities Description Document (Flight 0+).

Integration of the Longbow Hellfire system, designated Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM), which will be included in Increment 3 of the SuW MP set for LCS, is intended to deliver a stand-off engagement capability against fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) and fast attack craft (FAC) to complement the LCS' Mark 110 Mod 0.57 mm naval gun system, SeaRAM anti-ship missile defence system, and armed MH-60R Sea Hawk anti-submarine warfare/anti-surface weapon system.

Conducted off the coast of Virginia in mid-June aboard the USNS Relentless (T-AGOS-18) research vessel, the trials - designated Guided-Test Vehicle-1 - were designed to specifically test the Longbow Hellfire launcher, missile, and millimetric wave seeker against representative FIAC threats using surrogate high-speed manoeuvring surface targets (HSMSTs). The SSMM successfully engaged seven of eight HSMSTs, "with the lone miss attributed to a target issue not related to the missile's capability", according to the navy.

The Guided-Test Vehicle-1 scenarios included engaging HSMSTs at the maximum and minimum range (8,000 m/500 m when launched) of the Longbow Hellfire, against a stationary target, and HSMSTs "conducting serpentine manoeuvres". The navy said that the tests culminated in a three-target "raid" scenario, during which "all missiles from a three-shot 'ripple fire' response struck their individual targets".

The navy said that while no changes are required to the AGM-114L hardware for use with the LCS SuW MP, some software modifications will be made to adapt the missile for a vertical launch capability, which will utilise an existing US Army AGM-114 Hellfire launcher mounted within a gas containment system. The LCS SuW MP provides for one SSMM per ship; this will be contained within one of the three weapon stations common to both LCS classes. Each SSMM contains 24 AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missiles. The SSMM is expected to be fully integrated and ready to deploy on LCS missions by late 2017, according to the navy.
US Navy conducts initial LCS SSMM tests - IHS Jane's 360