The US Navy’s second Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS) Coronado (LCS 4) is set to test launch Kongsberg’s naval strike missile (NSM) off Point Mugu, Southern California, US, in September.

Marking the first firing of a surface-to-surface missile from an LCS, the upcoming trial follows the successful launch of the NSM from the Norwegian frigate Fridtjof Nansen during RIMPAC exercises.

NAVSEA spokesperson lieutenant Kurt Larson was quoted by the NavyTimes as saying: "The planned September live-firing demonstration aboard USS Coronado (LCS 4) of the naval strike missile under the foreign comparative testing programme will test the ship’s feasibility to execute an increased anti-surface warfare role.

"NSM has a highly survivable, very advanced seeker, and it goes 100 miles."

"Additionally, it will provide insights into the weapon’s stated capabilities of increased range, survivability and lethality.

"While there is currently no requirement for this capability aboard LCS, we view the demonstration as an opportunity to test a possible future warfighting tool."

The 500lb weapon, which is larger than the Hellfire missile, is used on Norwegian warships and by Polish defence forces in a land based, truck-mounted version.

The Coronado LCS has not been integrated with a missile system since the non-line-of-sight (NLOS) missile development was cancelled by the army in early 2011.

A US Navy spokesperson at the Pentagon said: "At this time, there are no further tests planned for the NSM or similar weapons."

NAVSEA surface ship weapons programme manager captain Michael Ladner said: "NSM has a highly survivable, very advanced seeker, and it goes 100 miles.

"The demonstration is not to integrate it into the ship but to launch it, and to explore the concept of operations for launching a missile that can go far from a LCS.

"If we can figure out how to solve the detect-to-engage sequence, then that might be the right candidate."

Defence Technology