The US Navy has declared initial operational capability (IOC) for the MK-60 Patrol Coastal Griffin Missile System.
The MK-60 Patrol Coastal Griffin Missile System includes the Raytheon-built Griffin missile, a Navy-designed launcher and battle management system, and a laser targeting system.
The milestone is part of the Navy's plan to continue to conduct littoral security operations in areas that need an immediate and precise response to counter threats.
US Navy Integrated Warfare Systems 3.0 programme office and major programme manager surface ship weapons Captain Mike Ladner said: "The Griffin missile and MK-60 system assure the accuracy and lethality our sailors need to combat growing regional threats.
"IOC signals the beginning of improved ship self-defence on the Patrol Coastal fleet and provides an immediate response to potential maritime threats, especially small craft on the move."
The IOC has been achieved following completion of extensive maritime testing that began in March 2012.
Raytheon Missile Systems air warfare systems vice-president Mike Jarrett said: "Griffin is a mature, lightweight precision weapon that delivers reliable operational effectiveness to the warfighter.
"The Navy's declaration of IOC with the Griffin Missile System is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates Griffin's flexibility and shows the missile is ideally suited to protect against the small boat threat on a variety of platforms."
Equipped with a 13lb warhead, the missile has been designed to be launched from the ground or air as a rocket-powered missile or dropped from the air as a guided bomb, and has a proven track record for successful rapid integration on land, sea and air assets.
The missile has been developed in two variants, namely AGM-176A Griffin, an aft-eject missile intended for employment from C-130 aircraft, and a forward-firing Griffin BGM-176B missile that launches from rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, ground-launch applications and maritime platforms.
Image: An AGM-176 Griffin missile being launched from a ground-based tube. Photo: courtesy of the US Department of Defense.