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RCN conducts first ever land attack with a Block II Harpoon missile

  • Thread starter jollyjacktar
  • Start date
RocketRichard said:
Well that was a disgusting photo to have pop up on my feed whilst I was eating breakfast and drinking my coffee.

The world isn't all puppies and butterflies.  Like I said...reality of the real world out there.
Eye In The Sky said:
The world isn't all puppies and butterflies.  Like I said...reality of the real world out there.
Agreed.  I'm sure many of us that have served or are serving have seen corpses before. Just a wee wake up this am. Have a good one.
Eye In The Sky said:
The world isn't all puppies and butterflies.  Like I said...reality of the real world out there.

Unfortunately, their perception of reality, is not the same as yours.  [:D
Good news!

Does this open the door to exploring other weird and wonderful innovations like, you know, naval gunfire support? :)
Operation Praying Mantis:

"Action continued to escalate. Joshan, an Iranian Combattante II Kaman-class fast attack craft, challenged USS Wainwright and Surface Action Group Charlie. The commanding officer of Wainwright directed a final warning (of a series of warnings) stating that Joshan was to "stop your engines, abandon ship, I intend to sink you". Joshan responded by firing a Harpoon missile at them.[6] The missile was successfully lured away by chaff.[7] Simpson responded to the challenge by firing four Standard missiles, while Wainwright followed with one Standard missile.[8] All missiles hit and destroyed the Iranian ship's superstructure but did not immediately sink it, so Bagley fired a Harpoon of its own; the missile did not find the target. SAG Charlie closed on Joshan, with Simpson, then Bagley and Wainwright firing guns to sink the crippled Iranian ship.[6]"

Now these are surface actions, not land attacks. But it does go to show the lengths to which even the USN has to fight with what it has....and the Harpoon back then was apparently less than stellar compared it's modern equivalent.
It does appears that the new software updates to the SM-6 Missile permit it to strike surface targets beyond the range of the harpoon, and with great accuracy:

From the National Interest Magazine:

"The U.S. Navy and Raytheon recently demonstrated that the company’s Standard SM-6 missile could destroy an enemy warship for the first time. During the test, USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53)—an Arleigh Burke-class—destroyer sank the decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57) with a SM-6 missile.

“This test event demonstrated Raytheon's decades of continued technological development and partnership with the U.S. Navy,” said Dr. Taylor Lawrence, president of Raytheon’s missile systems division, in a statement released on [4] March 7. “The ability to leverage the Standard Missile Family and the legacy AWS [Aegis Weapon System] in newly fielded systems brings additional warfighting capability to the U.S. Fleet.”

Until last month—when U. S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter disclosed the closely [5] held secret that the SM-6 is capable of engaging surface targets—most analysts believed that the U.S. Navy lacked any meaningful capability to attack enemy warships. With the revelation that the SM-6 does have anti-surface capability, it is now known that the U.S. Navy does have a long-range supersonic anti-ship missile at its disposal. This capability would be essential should any serious conflict arise with the Chinese or Russian navies, for example.

According to Raytheon, the recent test was a demonstration of the Navy’s “distributed lethality” concept where firepower is dispersed amongst a multitude of warships. It also showcased the SM-6’s expanded mission capabilities—which include anti-air warfare, sea-based terminal missile defense and anti-surface warfare.

The SM-6—which incorporates an active radar seeker and networking—was designed to engage targets beyond a ship’s radar horizon. Using the Naval Integrated Fire Control (NIFC) battle network, an Aegis warship could engage over-the-horizon targets—including aircraft and missiles—by using targeting data from a Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.

The physical radar horizon for a S-band radar such as the Aegis SPY-1D is about 250 nautical miles for a target flying at about 30,000 feet. For target flying at lower altitudes, the radar detection range would be shorter—which is where the E-2D comes in. While the range for the SM-6 is classified, the weapon’s range could potentially be greater than 250 nautical miles.

Because the E-2D has the capability to track air and surface targets, the SM-6 would effectively allow U.S. warships to engage enemy surface combatants over-the-horizon with a Mach 3.5+ missile. While the SM-6’s warhead was designed to kill aircraft—and as such is relatively tiny—the fact that it also has ballistic missile defense capability suggests it has a hit-to-kill capability.

Given that modern warships are not the armored battlewagons from the battleship era, it is relatively easy to achieve a “mission kill” on a current-generation surface combatant. That means even with its small warhead, the SM-6 should be more than effective against, for example, a Russian Kirov-class battlecruiser or the Chinese Type 52D destroyer due to the warhead's speed. The kinetic energy from a very fast missile can do enormous damage by itself—as the recent test [4] against USS Reuben James (FFG 57) amply demonstrated.

Thus far, Raytheon has delivered more than 250 SM-6 missiles, which became operational in 2013. Production will continue for the foreseeable future as the Navy begins to replace its older Standard missiles with the new weapon.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar."

Ok, so that's the SM6 missile. Maybe that should be our next missile for the CSC, if there ever is a CSC. I am sure it will not be a big leap before the software on the SM6 is further modified for a land attack capability. Too bad for the ESSM though...

Why wouldn't you retain the ESSM as well?  That seems to be the preferred solution for Navies like the Aussies, Danes and Dutch.

32 Cells - 24 loaded with 24x SM-6 (ABM-SSM) and 8 loaded with 32x ESSM (for local defence) 
Keep in mind that the new Joint Strike Missile can be fired out of the MK41 launcher and has a very good range, so it is also an alternative to the Harpoon. I like the thought of getting rid of those dedicated Harpoon launchers that take up space, then go from 32 cells to 48.

jollyjacktar said:
The op, as in me, doesn't give a crap how they work.  Not my part ship.

My bad. I meant the person who asked the question, whiskey601, not you.
whiskey601 said:
...I am sure it will not be a big leap before the software on the SM6 is further modified for a land attack capability. Too bad for the ESSM though...

Well, according to Wikipedia,
The U.S. Navy is adding the Global Positioning System (GPS) to the SM-6 so it has the capability to strike stationary land targets if needed, but given its higher cost than other land attack weapons like the Tomahawk cruise missile it would not likely be used as a primary option

And the ESSM isn't going anywhere. They are currently working on an upgraded version.
Chris Pook said:

Why wouldn't you retain the ESSM as well?  That seems to be the preferred solution for Navies like the Aussies, Danes and Dutch.

32 Cells - 24 loaded with 24x SM-6 (ABM-SSM) and 8 loaded with 32x ESSM (for local defence)
You keep both, but they don't have to be on the same ship.  They have different roles, different ranges, different seeker heads, different ways to hit the target, different speeds and different warheads.  You can put roughly 4 ESSM's in the same space as a single SM2, 3 or 6.  SM's are for long range shooting (120NM or so) and the ESSM are for much closer in (horizon type ranges). 

One of the reasons that ESSM's and other SAM's can hit ships is that they can be guided into the target by active radar.  Active radar is not as useful when trying to guide into a land based target because of as mention before backscatter etc... that's why the army prefers lasers and GPS for their guided munitions. 

The Harpoon Block II basically hits a GPS position.  This feature was added originally to allow the Harpoon to have waypoints set in its flight path so it could attack from various different directions, go around islands or obfuscate where the original ship was shooting from.  It grew into a "hit this point on the map" feature rather organically as the software got updated.  Either way one of my good friends was on the ground there doing the BDA after the fact.  He's quite excited for the new capability and it worked very well for the first time.

BZ to all.
Pleasing to hear.

That said, having been there the night we were shot at in 2011, we were well in range for 57mm return fire, and probably under minimum range for Harpoon...my action station was not in Ops, but I am made to understand that things were clearly visible on an IR system.

Is there a more efficient way to pack and launch missiles on a ship? while individual launchers likely mean more safety and likely a faster first volley, they seem to require a lot real estate and openings. Could you have something like the older missile systems with a twin boom launcher that could be fed a boxed missile from a magazine through a loader and the spent boxes  ejected/released onto the deck? 
The footprint of the old Mk.13 as seen on the OHP class ships was just about as large, and much more complex.


Not to mention the fact that there were moving parts, exposed on the upper decks, and the Rate of Fire was limited by the physical movements required of the launcher (rotate, swivel, slide missile on, rotate, elevate, fire, return to loading position etc.)  (ROF listed as :  1 Standard missile every 10 seconds; 1 Harpoon missile every 22 seconds)

With the VLS system, the rate of fire is limited by the software running the systems. 

The capacity was 40 missiles.  The smaller Mk.22 had only a 16 round capacity.

The amount of moving parts to make it all work (plus the amount of space required below-decks) are big factors in my opinion.

The simplicity of the VLS Canisters is delightful.

NavyShooter sort of beat me to it.

Whether they are in a Mk41 VLS system (which is not BTW a disposable canister system, you put the "box" in the single opening in the ship for it once, and then reload from the top as required) or in a magazine below deck, the missiles themselves occupy about the same volume. But if you put them in magazine below deck, then you also need space below deck to handle them, space for the "loader" space on deck for the launch system and space on deck around the launch system for pivoting and clear arcs of fire. Overall, the VLS systems flush-deck are not only more efficient and faster, but also permit more missiles to be carried on board.

For instance, compare the old Belknap cruisers (final configuration) with the Flight IIA Arleigh Burke.

The Belknap, at 8100 tons, 547 feet, equipped with the Mk 13 twin arm launcher and Harpoons on deck carried a total of 68 missiles. The Arleigh Burke, at 8400 tons and 509 feet with Mk 41 VLS carry a total of 104 missiles.

Moreover, the only way to reload a magazine fed missile launcher was to load it in reverse. basically, you had to use a crane to carefully slip them onto the rails, held in a vertical position and then operate the system in "store-back-the missiles-in-magazine" mode. This was impossible to do at sea. The Mk 41, with a heavy tensioned jackstay lets you slip the missile canister to on top of the Mk 41 and reload at sea. OK, its not for heavy sea states, but it can be done and extends your stay on station by that much.
The USS Barry fired a big pile of Tomahawks during OP Odyssey Dawn (2011, Libya bombardment).

She came alongside for fuel and a reload of BGM-109's while we were in getting fuel at the same jetty.

In less than 4 hours, they'd swapped out more empty canisters than a CPF carries, fueled their ship, and departed.  It was quite amazing to see. 

The concurrent fueling and ammunitioning would have given some folks a heart-attack, but it was operationally necessary to get her back to sea with them.  According to open-source data, USS Barry fired 55 Tomohawk missiles in total. 

Trying to do that kind of loading while at sea would be....interesting. 

I do not think that we would be able to load or swap canisters while at sea, either for Harpoon or Sea Sparrow. 

When loading missiles, we've put them on in as little as 15 minutes each (in my experience) but since we have our loadout split across both sides of the ship, you have to flip the ship between sides, so that slows the pace down a lot. 

NavyShooter said:
.... USS Barry fired 55 Tomohawk missiles in total... 

Holy crap.  Thats *does quick math, runs out of fingers and takes off shoes*  about $77 million US worth of ordinance. 
Underway said:
Holy crap.  Thats *does quick math, runs out of fingers and takes off shoes*  about $77 million US worth of ordinance.

Or one F35 give or take.
100 mil CDN $. Would not take long for a long range Excalibur type round from a ship off the coast to pay for itself. a modern version of this

For a country like Australia or Philippines some sort of shore bombardment makes sense as they have a lot of potentiel hotspots in Littoral areas. for Canada increasing to the 127mm seem to be the best of all likely worlds, perhaps a ship armed with a 57/75mm for close in defense against small vessels and a 127mm for greater reach.