The Naval Strike Missile, produced by Raytheon and Kongsberg, has been chosen by the U.S. Navy for use on littoral combat ships and future frigates. Photo courtesy of Kongsberg Gruppen
June 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has selected the Naval Strike Missile for its Over-the-Horizon program on littoral combat ships and future frigates.
The selection of the NSM, offered by Raytheon and Kongsberg Gruppen, comes after several other companies dropped out of bidding for the program in 2017.
The weapon is a long-range, precision missile for use against heavily defended land and sea targets. Raytheon says the missile, originally produced by its Norwegian partner, has demonstrated an unmatched ability to penetrate enemy defense systems.
The NSM will be the first Raytheon weapon to be used by the U.S. Navy, the Pentagon said when it revealed the $14.8 million contract last week. The contract includes options that would bring the total value of the contract to $847.6 million.
The NSM uses advanced seeker and target identification technology, and can defeat enemy defenses up to 100 nautical miles away.
"Raytheon and Kongsberg are providing the Navy with a proven, off-the-shelf solution that exceeds requirements for the over-the-horizon mission," Raytheon Missile Systems' president, Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, said in a statement.
The missile will be produced mainly in Norway by Kongsberg, while Raytheon will manufacture launchers, missiles, and components in the United States. The company has already started launcher production at its factory in Louisville, Ky., and will perform final assembly and tests at its facility in Tucson, Ariz.
The contract will generate business for more than two dozen U.S. suppliers, while the overall program is the product of a longtime partnership with Norway and its defense leader Kongsberg, the company said.
Through the 50-year partnership, Raytheon and Kongsberg "are able to provide the U.S. Navy with the best of two worlds by combining the capability of NSM with Raytheon's proficiency as the world's largest missile maker," said Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace AS president Eirik Lie.
Lockheed Martin and Boeing were also contenders, but withdrew from the competition last year as the Navy refined requirements for the weapon.