Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Marine Corps explores potential of ship-killing NMESIS


via Shephard Media.

The USMC is advancing plans for a new fleet of robotically controlled, ship-killing ground vehicles as part of its Force Design 2030 effort to reconfigure the force against potential threats from China.

It is pressing ahead with development of a new capability that pairs a modified Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) with a Naval Strike Missile (NSM).

Without fanfare, the USMC in November 2020 conducted what it says was a successful test of the Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS). This is a planned initial material solution to meet a ground-based anti-ship missile requirement, as the USMC seeks to challenge peer adversaries.

‘The primary objective of the November test was to evaluate the system’s ability to launch a Naval Strike Missile and verify that the design of the vehicle does not interfere with the missile’s performance and that the vehicle is not damaged during the missile launch,’ USMC spokeswoman Teresa Ovalle said on 5 April.

She added: ‘The test confirmed the basic design concept and supported continued development.’

NMESIS fires an NSM from a launcher and fire control system integrated on a remotely controlled JLTV dubbed ROGUE-Fires.

‘The ROGUE vehicle is simply a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle that's been stripped of its armour and its crew cab, in order to provide a robotic vehicle that is controlled via a controller,’ LtGen Eric Smith, deputy commandant for combat development and integration, told the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee on 18 March.

The modified JLTV is outfitted with a lidar sensor so that it can operate in a leader-follower mode, Smith said, adding: ‘It is paired as a manned-unmanned teaming setup.’

He said a ROGUE unit would be inserted by air — either sling-loaded on a CH-53K King Stallion or inside a KC-130 — or from the sea via surface connectors, including LCACs, landing craft utility, traditional L-class ships or the planned Light Amphibious Warships.

The USMC envisages that NMESIS would function as a key part of the future Marine Littoral Regiments.

‘Our Force Design initiatives are designed to create and maintain a competitive edge against tireless and continuously changing peer adversaries,’ Ovalle told Shephard. ‘The force design effort is a threat-informed, concept-based approach within a 10-year time horizon, intended to design a force to address National Defense Strategy-defined threats.’

Smith told Congress that the elegance of the NMESIS project is the quick reuse of mature systems. ‘Joint Light Tactical Vehicle: no new technology; Naval Strike Missile: no new technology,’ he summarised. ‘We simply integrated two existing technologies and that's how we buy down the risk. That is your ROGUE-Fires platform — immediately deployable and can hold adversary ships at risk at ranges in excess of 100 miles [160km].’

Has it occurred to anyone that 100 miles is an awfully short ranged system when you're talking about an anti-ship missile?

Additionally has anyone considered that even if you're stealthy, once you fire you're not only within the engagement range of the ship you're shooting at but every other enemy shooter in the vicinity?

These Littoral Regiments are designed to be expendable. It's the only thing that makes sense with such a short ranged missile.  What has me spinning is that Army cannon artillery will soon reach as far. 

One last thing.

Why the secrecy about this test? 

We're past the point of return.  Berger's concept is the future for the Marine Corps.  

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