Raytheon Technologies [RTX] last Wednesday revealed an image of the successful recent live fire test with the Marine Corps of a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) against a sea surface target from a ground system.

This initial test occurred in November and demonstrated the Naval Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS) by firing an NSM at Point Mugu Sea Range in California via a Marine Corps ground launcher, a modified Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

The company confirmed the missile scored a direct hit against a surface target at sea.

NSM is a cruise missile designed for maritime and land targets and currently serves as the Navy’s over-the-horizon weapon system for littoral combat ships and the future Constellation-class frigates.

“Our Naval Strike Missile is a vital weapon for denying enemies the use of key maritime terrain. This test further demonstrates our partnership for advancing the Marine Corps’ modernization priorities of enabling sea control and denial operations,” Kim Ernzen, vice president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, said in a statement.

The NMESIS consists of the Raytheon NSM and an Oshkosh [OSK] Remotely Operated Ground Unit for Expeditionary (ROGUE) Fire vehicle, itself an unmanned modification of the JLTV.

The company noted the Marine Corps plans to use NMESIS to support the Navy from the shore against opponent ships. 

NSM was originally developed by Norway’s Kongsberg and it is now in partnership with Raytheon Technologies to produce the missile in the U.S. as well to support American military purchases. 

Last year, then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts said the service was starting to work on having the Marine Corps be able to launch the NSM from shore-based anti-ship batteries to better integrate capabilities (Defense Daily, Jan. 16, 2020).

Geurts is currently designated as performing the duties of the Under Secretary of the Navy.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger underscored the importance of this system during a hearing of the House Appropriation Committee’s Defense subcommittee on April 29.

He said the NMESIS is an example of how the Marine Corps can help the Navy maintain sea control in a way that provides flexibility to commanders and noted the speed at which it was developed.

“This is the speed we have to develop a capability like that, this Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is our new vehicle. We are probably 20 percent into the fielding of it. The missile on the back is already on naval ships right now. So this is the brilliance of a couple of young officers and Oshkosh and a few other people putting together different capabilities long before they’re even thought all the way through.”

Berger said this JLTV is unmanned and the developer also took off the cab and put the NSM there with a fire control system. 

“Now we can move this around on vessels, put it ashore, and hold an adversary’s navy at risk in order to ensure that the lines on the sea are kept open. This is the speed at which we have to move.”

Berger added that a benefit of the Marine Corps using the NSM like this is because “it’s a common munition, so that we can move ordnance between the missile itself, the container, between the ship and the shore and it’s the same missile. So as needed, the commander can move the ordnance where it’s needed most.”

He also said using this capability helps because “it speeds up our ability to field it. It’s a proven missile…this is not a new missile system, we know how it performs. So we’re riding on the backs of something that’s already developed, putting it on a platform that we’re very confident in, giving the commander a capability.”