A few days ago, Reuters reported, citing its sources, that the United States and its allies are working to resolve the issue of providing Ukraine with powerful anti-ship weapons. It seems that the blockade of Black Sea ports and the problem with the supply of Ukrainian grain to international markets worries the United States and Europe.
According to Reuters, there are two types of anti-ship missiles – AGM/RGM/UGM-84 Harpoon from the American Boeing Defense, Space&Security, and Naval Strike Missile from Norwegian Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace. We’ve already talked about Harpoon, so let’s see what Naval Strike Missile is.
First, the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) is a much more modern weapon than the Harpoon, designed in the 1970s. The first contract for the supply of Naval Strike Missile or Nytt sjømålsmissil (literally – New Missile for Marine Purposes) was signed in the summer of 2007, and the first launch from the Norwegian patrol vessel Glimt took place in autumn 2012. That is, 2012 is the official launch date of these missiles.
Second, the Naval Strike Missile, unlike the Harpoon, has been designed for use on offshore and land platforms. In 2008, Poland ordered 6 ground launch vehicles with 4 missiles each on the chassis of Jelcz trucks of its production, and in 2014 it added 6 more installations. That is, our neighbors have a strong coastal defense with a combined volley of 48 NSM missiles. In addition, the US Marine Corps is equipped with light mobile launchers NMESIS (Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System) with NSM missiles. Moreover, work is underway to create a remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle ROGUE (Remotely Operated Ground Unit for Expeditionary) based on it!
Third, NSM is a true work of weapons art. The missile has a body made of composite materials and is almost invisible on radar. The warhead from TDW is made of titanium alloy, and has less weight, but increased destructive power. The intelligent programmable detonator further improves the performance of missiles. Naval Strike Missile can fly on the crests of waves, bypass obstacles, and perform random maneuvers of deviation in the terminal phase.
Thanks to the infrared homing head and onboard database, NSM has an intelligent target selection system and can hit ships at the waterline level. The navigation system can use inertial sensors, GPS, and terrain information.
But Naval Strike Missile is a very expensive weapon, the cost of one missile is $2,194,000.
Based on Naval Strike Missile, a new Joint Strike Missile missile is being developed, which will be able to hit targets on land, and also be used from air platforms, such as 5th generation F-35 fighter. The new missile has an increased range – up to 560 km against 185 km in the NSM and a more powerful warhead. Production of these missiles will start in 2023.
You’ve probably noticed one problem with NSM – range. The modern version of the missile can reach Russian ships at a distance of up to 185 km. At a time when our own R-360 Neptun has a range of 280 km. Yes, this is true, but Neptun are still very few, so if you are given NSM, you have to take.
Another issue is where to take? We simply have nowhere to integrate the marine version, so we are talking about ground platforms in Poland and the United States. But something tells us that in today’s conditions, Poland will not expose its own coast, despite all the love for Ukraine. So it’s about the US Marine Corps and the NMESIS system. Small, mobile, this is really a very good solution for Ukraine. But will this unlock our ports?
Unfortunately no. Even if we get Naval Strike Missile and place batteries on the coasts of Odessa and Mykolaiv regions, we will only drive Russian ships a little further from our territorial waters, but this will not prevent them from hitting our cargo ships. In addition, there are mines. Under such conditions, it is unlikely that any insurance company will take out cargo insurance, and this will make Ukrainian grain golden. So, Naval Strike Missile and Harpoon are really very cool and modern weapons to take, but they are not able to unlock Ukrainian ports and resume exports. Unfortunately, they cannot hit Russian frigates and submarines that launch missile strikes on Ukrainian.
Manufacturer – Kongsberg Defense& Aerospace
Unit cost – $2,194,000
Mass – 410 kg
Length – 3.95 m
Warhead – 125 kg HE blast-fragmentation
Detonation mechanism – programmable fuze
Engine – TRD Microturbo TRI-40
Range – 185 km (NSM), 185 – 555 km (JSM, depending on the flight profile)
Flight altitude – sea-skimming
Speed – Mach 0.7-0.9 (850-1100 km/h)
Guidance systems – inertial, GPS, terrain-reference navigation, imaging infrared homing, target database