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Marines advancing anti-ship missile as part of force modernization plan

By
Jake Thomas
The U.S. Marines Crops tests out its Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System anti-ship missile system at Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands, in Hawaii, on Aug. 16. Photo by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Nick Mannweiler
The U.S. Marines Crops tests out its Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System anti-ship missile system at Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands, in Hawaii, on Aug. 16. Photo by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Nick Mannweiler

Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The Marine Corps is moving forward with developing a ship-killing missile that's central to a long-range restructuring of the military, the branch said Tuesday.

The Marine Corps Systems Command's Long Range Fires program has acquired ‚Äč‚ÄčNavy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, or NMESIS, an anti-ship missile that meets military requirements and is being tested.

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Joe McPherson, program manager for Long Range Fires, said in a statement that NMESIS "uniquely complements" other ships and aircraft equipped with anti-ship missiles.

"Everything our adversaries have designed over the last 20-30 years are intended to counter [the DOD's] ships and aircraft," McPherson said in the statement.

RELATED Marines successfully fire new NMESIS anti-ship system

"The Marine Corps bringing a ground-based solution complicates [the adversary's] ability to counter our anti-ship capabilities since ground-based launchers, as we've found in previous wars, are hard to find. This is what NMESIS brings to the fight -- a launcher that is survivable inside the enemy's weapons engagement zone," McPherson said.

The new system will allow the Marine Corps to fire the Naval Strike Missile, the Navy's latest anti-ship missile.

Key to the missile system will be the ability of Marines to remotely operate its transport vehicle, the Remotely-Operated Ground Unit for Expeditionary Fires.

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The first images of the new system were unveiled in April, when it was tested with a missile mounted to a modified unmanned Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, reports USNI News. The system was tested in November 2020, but no photos were released, reports The Drive.

The operational requirement for a ground-based anti-ship missile system is relatively new and stems from the Commandant's Planning Guidance and the Corps' Force Design 2030 efforts.

The Commandant's Planning Guidance seeks to prepare the Marine Corps for naval expeditionary warfare and possible conflict with China, according to War on the Rocks.

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The Marine Corps says it successfully demonstrated NMESIS during Large Scale Exercise 21, a massive military drill that involved multiple Navy fleets and tested out new technology.

During the exercise, the system launched a missile that flew over a non-linear path covering over 100 nautical miles before striking two targets.

The launch wasn't an official test, though, and the Marine Corps plans to get more feedback on the system going forward. The system will be sent to Marines in Camp Pendleton, Calif., to try it out.

The Marine Corps plans to deploy the initial set of launchers to the Marine Littoral Regiment by the end of 2023. Medium-range missile batteries used by Marine Littoral Regiments will employ NMESIS, officials said.

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