US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Successfully Completes First Land Attack Missile Exercise
US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Successfully Completes First Land Attack Missile Exercise

US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Successfully Completes First Land Attack Missile Exercise

The U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class successfully launched sea-based missiles at a land-based target for the first time during a proof of concept exercise, May 12. Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) fired three AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missiles to strike a land-based target several nautical miles away as part of the LCS surface-to-surface mission module (SSMM). The Longbow Hellfire missile already plays a key role in the up-gunned surface warfare mission package. Originally fielded by both variants of the littoral combat ship in 2019, the missile has repeatedly demonstrated the capability quickly defeat multiple swarming Fast Attack Craft/Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FAC/FIAC). Each LCS is capable carrying twenty-four missiles.

“The SSMM is a fundamental cornerstone of LCS lethality and evolving capability to provide enhanced fire support in the littorals and over the horizon in support of the Navy and Marine Corps fighting force,” said Lt. Michael Jones, a warfare tactics instructors from Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center.

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“This test proved the critical next step in increasing lethality of the Littoral Combat Ship. Using our speed and shallow draft, we are now uniquely optimized to bring this level of firepower extremely close to shore in support of our warfighters and operators on the beach,” said Cmdr. Dustin Lonero, Montgomery’s commanding officer.

An MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopter attached to the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 moves aboard Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) in preparation for an upcoming exercise.
An MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopter attached to the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 moves aboard Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) in preparation for an upcoming exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vance Hand)

The Longbow Hellfire missile already plays a key role in the up-gunned surface warfare mission package. Originally fielded by both variants of the littoral combat ship in 2019, the missile has repeatedly demonstrated the capability quickly defeat multiple swarming Fast Attack Craft/Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FAC/FIAC). Each LCS is capable carrying twenty-four missiles. The Longbow Hellfire missile was commissioned in 1998, and has proven successful over its years of service across all U.S. military branches. Originally designed as an anti-tank weapon for the U.S. Army, its all-weather millimeter-wave sensing, semi-active laser guidance continues to prove extremely effective in the maritime domain against all manner of threats.

The LCS surface-to-surface mission module (SSMM) is a fundamental cornerstone of LCS lethality and evolving capability to provide enhanced fire support in the littorals and over the horizon in support of the Navy and Marine Corps fighting force. The new ability for LCS to conduct maritime strikes bolsters the ships role in conducting shaping operations within amphibious and expeditionary warfare areas. Combining emerging technologies, an MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, remained airborne providing advanced targeting and bomb hit assessment capability. The Fire Scout already provides littoral combat ships an over the horizon intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting capability.

An AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile launches from the Surface-To-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) aboard Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8).
An AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile launches from the Surface-To-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) aboard Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8). The missile exercise was the first proof of concept launch of the Longbow Hellfire missile against land-based target. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Samuel Hardgrove)

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