Washington: The Navy’s newest warship now has a new missile system to go with it.
The Navy will deploy the Raytheon-built Griffin missile system on board its growing fleet of Littoral Combat Ships, Rear Adm. James Murdoch, program executive officer for LCS, said today.
An unmodified version of the short-range, surface-to-air missile will be installed onto LCS-1, the USS Freedom. Modification work on the Lockheed Martin-built ship’s missile launchers is now underway, so it will be able to fire the Griffin, Murdoch said.
The Griffin missile system will be part of the anti-surface warfare mission module being built for both the Lockheed steel-hulled vessels and Austal’s aluminum-hulled ships.
The first mission modules will be installed on the LCS ship by fiscal year 2014, but those modules will not include the Griffin, according to Murdoch. The mission modules that include the Griffin system won’t go to sea until later, he added. The first module with the Griffin missile will be installed on the USS Freedom.
The other mission packages currently in the works for LCS will cover anti-submarine and anti-mine warfare.
The Griffin will replace the now-canceled Non-Line of Sight Launch missile system that Navy officials initially planned to put onto the LCS.
The Navy teamed up with the Army on NLOS-LS acquisition, with the Army planning to field a version of the missile on their fleet of tactical vehicles. Earlier this year, the ground service was forced to cancel the weapon due to rising costs associated with its development.
That prompted a Navy-led study study on potential NLOS-LS replacements, which led to selection of the Griffin missile system for the LCS. Murdoch did admit the Griffin missile lacks many of capabilities that NLOS had, especially against long-range targets. To try and close those gaps, Murdoch said the Navy plans a competition for a follow-on missile to the Griffin by the end of this year. That follow-on missile will be designed to hit targets “beyond the horizon,” Murdoch said.