Royal Navy selects Naval Strike Missile
The selection of the missiles comes after, in July, Shephardreported the UK was negotiating a purchase of the weapon. Under the plans, the RN will equip eleven ships across the frigate and destroyer classes.
Three vessels will be equipped with the missiles and ready for operations in a little over a year.
'This new agreement cements our partnership with one of our closest allies, whilst strengthening our Royal Navy with a new surface-to-surface strike capability.'— UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace
The Naval Strike Missile is a subsonic, sea-skimming, anti-ship and land-attack missile designed to strike heavily defended land and sea targets.
The missiles will replace the Harpoon Block 1C, scheduled to go out of service at the end of 2023. The quick timeline quashes a looming surface-to-surface missile capability gap.
The UK and Norway have established a designated team that, with the support of Kongsberg, will work on integrating the weapon.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced the decision on board Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth amid a meeting of Northern Group Defence Ministers.
Wallace said: 'We have a long history of defence cooperation with Norway. This new agreement cements our partnership with one of our closest allies, whilst strengthening our Royal Navy with a new surface-to-surface strike capability.'
|Title||Naval Strike Missile (NSM)|
|Categories||Missiles and rockets, Missiles and rockets|
|Subcategories||Anti-ship missiles, Multipurpose missiles|
|Suppliers||Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, Raytheon|
|Unit Cost (US$)||1000000.00|
|First Delivery Date||2011|
|Out Of Service Date||2036|
|Length 1 (overall)||3.95m|
|Weight 1 (overall)||410kg|
|Range 1 (overall travel)||185km|
|Diameter 1 (overall)||U|
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The decision will see all three AUKUS partners operating the same missile system. Poland, Germany, Norway, Canada, India, Malaysia and Romania have also selected the missile.
For many operators, the Naval Strike Missile has become the de-facto replacement for the ageing Harpoon system.
Norwegian Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram said: 'This is a significant task with an ambitious timeline. Both nations have established a designated team with a strong mandate to ensure the success of this common effort.
'The Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace is supporting the joint team with their expertise and the planned integration on the UK vessels.'
In a statement, Kongsberg said it 'cannot provide any further comment on the potential size of this contract.'
The Naval Strike Missile was offered to the UK RN under its scrapped Interim Surface-to-Surface Guided Weapon (I-SSGW) project.
Kongsberg bills the Norwegian-developed missile as a 'fifth-generation', long-range, precision strike missile designed to defeat heavily protected maritime targets.
According to Shephard Defence Insight, the Naval Strike Missile has a 125kg HE blast fragmentation warhead and a range of 185-555km, depending on the flight profile.
It has inertial, GPS, and terrain-reference navigation systems and comes with imaging, infrared homing, and a target database.
More from Naval Warfare
Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile was developed in the early 2000s and delivered to the Norwegian Armed Forces from 2011 to 2015. The new missile will be a collaborative project between Norway and Germany and has been planned to be deployed on both countries' naval vessels.
The F126 frigate-class has been developed under the MKS 180 frigate programme for the German Navy and has been designed to produce one of the largest German surface warships in more than seven decades.