US Marines are gearing up to destroy ships with a new missile that fires over 100 miles

Naval Strike Missile launch from USS Coronado (LCS-4) in September 2014.

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Naval Strike Missile launch from USS Coronado (LCS-4) in September 2014.
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US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zachary D. Bell

  • The US Marine Corps has decided to spend $48 million on Raytheon’s Naval Strike Missile, a long-range precision-strike anti-ship missile.
  • The Corps made land-based anti-ship capabilities a priority, particularly for operations in the Pacific where China’s navy is growing rapidly.
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The US Marine Corps plans to arm its forces with a new anti-ship missile that will allow US troops to sink enemy ships from shore-based launchers 100 miles away, a capability the Marines have been chasing with China’s growing navy in mind.

The Corps has decided to spend roughly $48 million on Raytheon’s Naval Strike Missile, a long-range precision strike missile the Navy ordered last year for its littoral combat ships and future frigates, Raytheon announced this week.

The service has made fielding this capability a priority.

“There’s a ground component to the maritime fight. You have to help the ships control sea space. And you can do that from the land,” Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller told USNI News earlier this year. “We’ve got to be able to attack surface platforms at range.”

Breaking Defense reported in January that the Marines were considering Lockheed Martin’s Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile, the Naval Strike Missile, and Boeing’s Harpoon as options for the kind of capability the Corps desires as the US military readies itself to defeat a powerful rival like Russia or China.

Read more: The Marine Corps is strapping vehicles to the top of Navy ships to fend off small boats and other threats

Army experiments with land-based launch of Naval Strike Missile during RIMPAC 2018

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Army experiments with land-based launch of Naval Strike Missile during RIMPAC 2018
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David Hogan, AMRDEC WDI

The Naval Strike Missile, which was manufactured by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence Systems in partnership with Raytheon, carries a 275-pound warhead, has a range of over 100 nautical miles, and can be fired from ships and mobile shore-based launchers.

The Army experimented with a land-based launch of the Naval Strike Missile during last year’s Rim of the Pacific exercise, when the weapon was fired from a truck at a decommissioned ship off Hawaii.

The Marines have yet to select a suitable mobile launch platform, which could be Lockheed’s M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System or one of two large, heavy trucks from Oshkosh, Breaking Defense previously reported. The Corps told Military.com two years ago they wanted a launcher that could be easily moved by a V-22 Osprey.

The Corps still has some important experimentation and decision-making to do before the Naval Strike Missile can be effectively fielded from shore-based batteries.