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U.S. Navy Over-The-Horizon Weapon System Selection Expected for June

The U.S. Navy is expected to announce the winner of its Over-The-Horizon Weapon System (OTH WS) competition by the end of June. The information comes from Norwegian business newspaper Finansavisen, quoting Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy. Kennedy was visiting the Kongsberg headquarters in Norway on Monday.

U.S. Navy Over The Horizon Weapon System Selection Expected for JuneKongsberg picture showing an NSM being launched.

The U.S. Navy OTH WS programme calls for the procurement of a new anti-ship missile for both classes of Littoral Combat Ships. The competition has been ongoing for a couple of years even-tough both Boeing (with its Harpoon ER) and Lockheed Martin (with its LRASM) have pulled out of the competition last year, deeming that the competition was unfair.

This leaves Raytheon (and its partner Kongsberg) as the only contender for OTH WS. They are pitching the Naval Strike Missile (NSM). The two companies entered in teaming agreement in 2016 and Raytheon received an initial contract to produce Naval Strike Missile (NSM) launchers at its production facility in Tucson, Arizona in August 2016.

Another Norwegian magazine, Teknisk Ukeblad, quoted Raytheon's CEO as explaining that the new anti-ship missile is set to replace Harpoon II, of which over seven thousand units have been produced. "I think there may be a need for seven thousand NSM missiles too" Thomas Kenedy said.

OTH WS will be fitted aboard the future frigate of the U.S. Navy as well (FFG(X) programme).

Our video interview with Raytheon and Kongsberg at SNA 2018

Meanwhile, NSM will be test fired from a U.S. Army HEMTT truck during RIMPAC 2018 exercise this summer. Navy Recognition learned this information from from Raytheon and Kongsberg during the Surface Navy Association's (SNA) 2018 National Symposium held in January. The U.S. Army will demonstrate the "cross domain fires / cross domain integration" concept by firing an NSM against a ship target at sea during the joint exercise taking place in (and off) the island of Hawaii. A contract was awarded to Raytheon for this.

NSM anti ship missile on LCSKongsberg poster on display at SNA showing possible NSM launcher placement on both classes of LCS

About NSM
The NSM is a fifth generation anti-sip missile, developed by KONGSBERG for the Norwegian Navy. NSM reached Initial Operational Capability on the new Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen Class frigates and the new Norwegian Skjold Class corvettes in 2012. It is also fielded by the Polish Navy (coastal defense batteries) and has been selected by the navies of Malaysia and Germany. NSM was also tested by the US Navy on LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) #4 USS Coronado in 2014.

Hans Kongelf, Vice President of Missile Systems at Kongsberg previously told Navy Recognition that the main strength of the NSM are:
- Defense penetration capabilities thanks to its stealth, extremely low sea-skimming flight profile and high G maneuvers.
- Target recognition: Each NSM is fitted with a library of ship profiles to recognize each ship classes.
- NSM is available today, it is in production, fielded by the Royal Norwegian Navy, the Polish Navy and selected by the Royal Malaysian Navy and German Navy