The US Navy’s Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), has successfully completed the first land attack missile exercise.

The missile exercise marks the first proof-of-concept launch of AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile. It was conducted on 12 May.

During the exercise, three Longbow Hellfire sea-based missiles were fired from a surface-to-surface mission module (SSMM), aboard USS Montgomery, to strike a land-based target situated miles away.

USS Montgomery commanding officer commander Dustin Lonero said: “This test proved the critical next step in increasing lethality of the littoral combat ship.

“Using our speed and shallow draft, we are now uniquely optimised to bring this level of firepower extremely close to shore in support of our warfighters and operators on the beach.”

The exercise was also supported by Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 operating MQ-8C Fire Scout uncrewed helicopter. The MQ-8C remained airborne and provided advanced bomb hit assessment capability to the LCS.

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Commissioned in 1998, the Longbow Hellfire missile was initially designed as the US Army’s anti-tank weapon.

The AGM-114L missile’s capabilities, such as semi-active laser guidance and all-weather millimetre-wave sensing, were later proven efficient against the maritime threats.

In 2019, Longbow Hellfire missile was originally used by the Independence and Freedom LCS variants to demonstrate its capability to defeat various fast attack craft or fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC).

The LCS variants can carry around 24 missiles each.

A fast, mission-focused platform, LCS can operate in near-shore environments and perform various missions including deterrence, forward presence, maritime security and sea control.