US Navy’s LCS completes first land attack missile exercise

The US Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS) class successfully launched sea-based missiles at a land-based target for the first time during a proof of concept exercise on 12 May.

Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) fired three AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missiles to strike a land-based target several nautical miles away as part of the LCS surface-to-surface mission module (SSMM).

An AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile launches from the Surface-To-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) aboard Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8). (U.S. Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Samuel Hardgrove)

“This test proved the critical next step in increasing lethality of the Littoral Combat Ship,” said Cmdr. Dustin Lonero, Montgomery’s commanding officer.

“Using our speed and shallow draft, we are now uniquely optimized to bring this level of firepower extremely close to shore in support of our warfighters and operators on the beach.”

Originally fielded by both variants of the littoral combat ship in 2019, the Longbow Hellfire missile has demonstrated the capability quickly defeat multiple swarming fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC).

Each LCS is capable carrying twenty-four missiles. The Longbow Hellfire missile was commissioned in 1998, and has proven successful over its years of service across all US military branches. It was originally designed as an anti-tank weapon for the US Army.

“The new ability for LCS to conduct maritime strikes bolsters the ships role in conducting shaping operations within amphibious and expeditionary warfare areas,” Lt. Michael Jones, a warfare tactics instructors from Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center, concluded.

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Photo: An AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile launches from the Surface-To-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) aboard Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8). (U.S. Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Samuel Hardgrove)