The Marines actually sank a moving ship when they test-fired a Navy missile from a truck for the first time

Naval Strike Missile
The Naval Strike Missile is operational on land and at sea.

  • Last month, the Marine Corps announced the first test of a system that launches Naval Strike Missiles from a modified vehicle.
  • This month, the Corps’ top officer said that groundbreaking test actually sank a ship sailing off the coast of California.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Marine Corps took out a moving ship by firing a Navy missile at it from the back of an unmanned vehicle on land – a new weapon the service’s top general says will make “an adversary think twice.”

Commandant Gen. David Berger revealed new details about a groundbreaking test announced last month in which Marines in California used a deadly new system to take out a threat at sea.

Known as NMESIS, the Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System can launch naval strike missiles from the back of a modified Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to destroy targets.

Berger said the Marines testing the system were able to sink a ship on the move near California. The Marine Corps’ top priority in the 2022 budget, he added, will be ground-based anti-ship missiles.

“A very successful test,” the commandant said Thursday during the annual McAleese defense conference. “… That’s conventional deterrence because that’s a capability that makes an adversary think twice.”

The Marine Corps is undergoing massive reform after two decades of ground warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan. Berger’s Force Design 2030 plans call for the service to ditch heavy legacy equipment, such as tanks, to prepare for lighter, naval-based missions. The plan is largely centered around threats Chinese forces pose to the US military.

Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System
The Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System can launch Naval Strike Missiles from a modified Joint Light Tactical Vehicle at land or sea targets.

Emanuel “Manny” Pacheco, a spokesman for Marine Corps Systems Command, said the missile flew an attack path “that exceeded 90 nautical miles before impacting the target.”

He declined to provide details on additional tests, but said others have been successful.

“The Marine Corps is investing in technologies and capabilities to modernize the Corps and ensure we maintain our competitive edge,” Pacheco added.

Berger said Thursday that Marines will have to support the Navy not only with anti-surface missions to take out enemy ships, but submarines too. The Marine Corps will need to step up to help control straits and other maritime avenues the US and its partners and allies need open, he added.

“Littoral warfare is where you expect the Marine Corps to come on strong, and that’s where we’re headed,” he said.

Tanks and short-range towed artillery pieces aren’t a good fit for Marines to meet future threats. Instead, Berger said, they’ll need long-range fires and light amphibious warships.

“We are reorienting from a ground, sustained land-forces mode – which we’ve had to do for the nation for the past 20 years – into a naval expeditionary maritime mode,” he said.

– Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Marines scored direct hit on target at sea in first live-fire test using Navy missile and unmanned vehicle

naval strike missile NSM konsberg
A Naval Strike Missile is launched from USS Coronado in September 2014.

  • The Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System has been tested successfully against a target at sea.
  • NMESIS combines two existing technologies – Naval Strike Missiles and modified Joint Light Tactical Vehicles – for a deadly new way to hit targets offshore.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Marines scored a direct hit in a first-ever live-fire test in which they launched a Navy missile from the back of an unmanned tactical vehicle to strike a surface target at sea.

The Marine Corps has combined two existing technologies to produce a deadly new way to hit targets offshore. Coined NMESIS, the Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System can launch Naval Strike Missiles from the back of a modified Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, to destroy targets on land or at sea.

Raytheon Missiles and Defense, which makes the Naval Strike Missile, announced Wednesday that the Marine Corps used NMESIS to hit a target in the water from Point Mugu Sea Range in California. The missile can take out targets from more than 100 nautical miles away.

Commandant Gen. David Berger showed a photo of the test launch to lawmakers Thursday when discussing the need for funding for ground-based anti-ship missiles. He called the test the result of the “brilliance of a couple of young officers” and Oshkosh Defense, a Wisconsin-based company that makes the JLTV.

“The people at Oshkosh and these couple of majors thought, ‘We can do this,’ so they took the cab off the back and they put a missile in the back with a fire-control system,” Berger said. “Now, we can move this around on vessels or put it ashore and hold an adversary’s navy at risk … to ensure that the lines on the sea are kept open.

“This is the speed at which we have to move,” he added.

Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System
NMESIS can launch naval strike missiles from the back of a modified Joint Light Tactical Vehicle at targets on land or at sea.

Getting funding for ground-based long-range precision fires out of the next budget will be crucial for the Marine Corps’ mission, Berger told lawmakers. He wrote in his 2019 planning guidance that the service had fallen “woefully behind” in the development of ground-based long-range precision fires.

“We must possess the ability to turn maritime spaces into barriers so we can attack an adversary’s sea lines of communication … while defending our own in support of the Fleet or Joint Force,” Berger wrote.

In 2021, the Marine Corps requested $125 million to buy nearly 50 Tomahawk missiles it could launch from land. Congress ultimately did not fund the move. Adm. Phil Davidson, the head of US Indo-Pacific Command, told lawmakers in March that the decision to slash those funds hurt the military’s ability to deter China.

The JLTV used in the test at Point Mugu is an unmanned version known as a ROGUE – or remotely operated ground unit for expeditionary – fires vehicle. The Naval Strike Missile fired from the back carries a 500-pound class warhead, according to Raytheon. The Navy uses the missile on littoral combat ships.

Combined, the missile and ROGUE fires vehicle form NMESIS, which is operated by artillery Marines, Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, the deputy commandant of Combat Development and Integration, told reporters this month.

Berger said using a modified JLTV and a proven strike missile gives commanders flexibility since they can fire the munition from a ship or ashore.

“It’s the same missile, so as needed, the commander can move the ordnance where it’s needed most,” he said. “… [It also] speeds up our ability to field it. It’s a proven missile. … This is not a new missile system – we know how it performs. So we’re riding on the backs of something that is already developed and putting it on a platform that we’re very confident in.”

– Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

Read the original article on Business Insider