The US Sixth Fleet has conducted convoy protection rehearsals with the Danish military using a modular, containerised missile launcher (CML).

As a portable, the shore-based CML, in contrast to a conventional shipboard missile launcher, is said to increase the Navy’s flexibility to move and employ the weapon systems to support maritime security along sea lines of communication.

Both forces co-ordinated the exercise on Bornholm Island in the Baltic Sea, 105 miles southeast of Copenhagen, or 22 miles south of the Swedish mainland, between 3-5 May 2024.

This rehearsal follows another iteration

This is the second convoy rehearsal operation on the island after the two nations conducted a similar exercise in September last year using another containerised US Navy (USN) Mk70 Mod 1 Payload Delivery System with a Standard Missile 6 (SM-6).

“This second iteration continues to reaffirm our commitment to a strong Nato security ally, and strengthens the US-Denmark partnership,” the USN said in a recent statement.

US and Danish personnel offload a containerised SM-6 missile launcher from a C-17 in Ronne, Denmark, during the first iteration on 19 September 2023. Credit: DVIDS.

SM-6, also known as RIM-174, is a ship-launched anti-air and anti-surface interceptor missile developed by Raytheon, an RTX subsidiary. The missile is part of Raytheon’s STANDARD missile family, which also includes SM-1, SM-2 and SM-3.

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US Naval Forces Europe-US Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) operates naval forces in the US European Command and US Africa Command areas of responsibility. The Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.

Other nations have caught onto the containerised missile concept as well, with India’s Defence and Research and Development Organisation testing its own novel weapon system, the Supersonic Missile-Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) system.

SMART is similarly launched from the ground. It is a canisterised hybrid system that can travel at supersonic speeds, and it is made up of a medium-range missile carrying a lightweight torpedo as a payload.

Although it performs an anti-submarine warfare role for the Indian Navy, the objective behind the project is to develop a quick reaction launcher system from a standoff distance.