Raytheon just released a Navy-credited image of the Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, or NMESIS, at work at Point
Magu Mugu. The vehicle, which looks to be Oshkosh’s unmanned variant of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) known as “ROGUE Fires,” is loaded with a containerized module that includes a Norwegian Kongsberg-developed Naval Strike Missile, which is dramatically taking flight.
The planned successor to the 1970s-developed Harpoon as the Navy’s dedicated OTH anti-ship weapon, NSM has a greater range as well as a laundry list of attack profile updates. JLTV, meanwhile, is amphibious, helicopter, and fixed-wing transportable.
With the assumption that at least two, if not four, of the 900-pound NSMs could be carried on each of the ROGUE Fires trucks, a battery of six vehicles could carry up to 24 missiles linked to a central CCV truck with a platoon-sized crew (or smaller). That’s a small footprint for two dozen AShMs. Like atoll-sized or even oil platform-sized small.
Worst case scenario on a “shoot and scoot” after the missiles are expended from such pieces of tiny real estate: blow the vehicles with WP grenades and evac the battery crew by fastest means possible, e.g. MV-22, or provide them with rubber raiders to fall back just offshore for a submarine recovery– something the Marines have been revisiting lately.
Of course, the scale is the key to something like this. If you only have a couple of these batteries the whole concept is academic. However, if you could sow, say, 50 batteries around a battlespace on every strip of sandy beach, hidden in every mangrove thicket, and hiding under netting on every coral reef, that is a serious distruptor. Like a “don’t bother going to battle” type of disruptor, which is the point of peace through superior firepower, right?
The current buy is set to field 14 new Marine expeditionary precision strike units with 252 launchers.
However, these units could also be of use afloat.
The Marines are already theorizing using their NMESIS batteries while underway on amphibious support ships if needed. The same concept could quickly arm ships taken from trade, such as old RO/ROs and tankers, giving the 1990’s Arsenal Ship theory an ersatz rebirth, at least for anti-ship purposes.
“Going back to uncoiling the lethality of the MAGTF, I see containerized weapon systems that the Marine Corps is using: when we jump onboard a ship, that becomes available to the ship’s captain. So maybe we don’t need to install launchers and NSM; maybe the Marine Corps [expeditionary advance base operations] forces serve as the main battery when we’re moving out,” Maj. Gen. Tracy King, who until recently served as the expeditionary warfare director on the chief of naval operations’ staff (OPNAV N95), said.
“To me, that just makes sense. We give the latitude and the flexibility to that ship’s captain to use those assets when he needs to. There’s been some naysayers to that, mostly in my tribe, because if you use all my missile before I get there, I don’t have my missiles. But I’m a little bit dismissive of that complaint because the ship’s got to get there first. So I think you’re going to see us employing containerized weapon systems that we can use wherever we want to use them.”