US Navy conducts first SeaRAM missile firing from its LCS


USS Coronado

The US Navy has successfully fired a tactical missile for the first time from a SeaRAM launcher on board its second Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS), USS Coronado, during a live-fire exercise.

Conducted at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division sea range off the coast of California, the trial saw the navy's LCS firing a rolling airframe missile from a SeaRAM anti-ship defence system.

During the test, Raytheon's SeaRAM was able to detect, track and engage an inbound threat target, and fire a RAM Block 1A, intercepting the target successfully.

Raytheon Missile Systems Naval Area and Mission Defense product line vice-president Rick Nelson said: "This test success marks a major milestone toward full operation and employment of the SeaRAM system on US Navy ships.

"SeaRAM demonstrated that it is a vital weapon for defending navies against anti-ship cruise missiles, and provides warfighters with a capability found nowhere else."

The SeaRAM anti-ship missile defence system is designed to offer improved ship self-defence and extended keep-out range capabilities in hostile combat environments.

It allows naval vessels to effectively engage high-performance, supersonic and subsonic threats including sea-skimming, anti-ship missiles, high-speed incoming vessels, rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and other surface targets.

An evolution of the MK15 Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS), SeaRAM uses advanced Phalanx Block 1B sensors in order to enhance keep-out range capabilities against evolving anti-ship missiles, rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft and other threats.

"This test success marks a major milestone toward full operation and employment of the SeaRAM system on US Navy ships."

Raytheon's Phalanx is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20mm gun system that acquires tracks and destroys enemy threats.

The advanced Phalanx Block 1B CIWS is fitted with advanced infrared sensor and optimised gun barrels, and also uses new control stations with situational awareness to provide operators with visual target tracking and identification before engagement.

In August, USS Coronado successfully performed a live-fire testing off the coast of California.

The test was conducted using the ship's core weapons system, the Mk 110 57mm gun and the embarked SUW MP Mk 46 30mm gun weapon systems (GWS).


Image: The US Navy's second Independence-class LCS, USS Coronado. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by chief mass communication specialist Keith DeVinney.