The littoral combat ship Savannah on Tuesday fired a SM-6 missile from a “containerized launching system” at a target in the Pacific Ocean, signaling a way that the lightly armed ship class could one day contribute to a conventional naval battle.
Naval Surface Forces said the test is part of ongoing experimentation to see if a mobile launch system could work aboard ships like LCS.
The pricey ship class has become an albatross for the Navy, as the ships are largely unable to take on the missions for which they were envisioned.
Navy brass and Congress have nudged more and more of the LCS class into early retirement, contending they cost too much and would contribute too little in a future fight with an adversary like China.
This week’s test was planned “months in advance,” Naval Surface Forces said.
“The exercise will inform continued testing, evaluation and integration of containerized weapons systems on afloat platforms,” the command told Navy Times.
The Navy has been working with the defense industry to make munitions like the SM-6 and their firing systems more mobile.
Lockheed Martin officials told Defense News last year that the company had fielded a four-cell vertical launch missile system and a “Virtualized Aegis Weapon System” on the Navy surface drone Ranger to fire a missile as a proof of concept.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at [email protected].