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Littoral combat ship successfully launches NSM

The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords  successfully demonstrated the capabilities of the Naval Strike Missile Oct. 1 during exercise Pacific Griffin.

  • Text:Press release from U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

    Photo:U.S. Navy/MCC Shannon Renfroe

Pacific Griffin is a biennial exercise conducted in the waters near Guam aimed at enhancing combined proficiency at sea while strengthening relationships between the U.S. and Republic of Singapore navies.

“Today was a terrific accomplishment for the USS Gabrielle Giffords crew and the Navy’s LCS-class,” said Cmdr. Matthew Lehmann, commanding officer. “I am very proud of all the teamwork that led to the successful launch of the NSM.”

The Naval Strike Missile is a long-range, precision strike weapon that can find and destroy enemy ships at distances up to 100 nautical miles away. The stealthy missile flies at sea-skimming altitude, has terrain-following capability and uses an advanced seeker for precise targeting in challenging conditions.

Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, who oversees security cooperation for the U.S. Navy in Southeast Asia, said Gabrielle Giffords’ deployment sent a crystal clear message of continued U.S. commitment to maritime security in the region.

"LCS packs a punch and gives potential adversaries another reason to stay awake at night," said Tynch. "We are stronger when we sail together with our friends and partners and LCS is an important addition to the lineup."

The NSM aboard Gabrielle Giffords is fully operational and remains lethal. The weapon was first successfully demonstrated on littoral combat ship USS Coronado in 2014. It meets and exceeds the U.S. Navy’s over-the-horizon requirements for survivability against high-end threats, demonstrated lethality, easy upgrades and long-range strike capability.

Gabrielle Giffords’ deployment represents a milestone for the U.S. Navy and LCS lethality, and marks the first time that an NSM has sailed into the Indo-Pacific region. The successful missile shoot demonstrates value for long-range anti-ship missiles.

The Gabrielle Giffords, on her maiden deployment, arrived in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility Sept. 16, for a rotational deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. This marks the first time two LCS have deployed to the Indo-Pacific region simultaneously. Gabrielle Giffords is the fifth LCS to deploy to U.S. 7th Fleet, following USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), USS Coronado (LCS 4) and the currently-deployed USS Montgomery (LCS 8).

Gabrielle Giffords will conduct operations, exercises and port visits throughout the region as well as work alongside allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability, key pillars of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. Its unique capabilities allow it to work with a broad range of regional navies and visit ports larger ships cannot access.

Littoral combat ships are fast, agile and networked surface combatants, optimized for operating in the near-shore environments. With mission packages allowing for tailored capabilities to meet specific mission needs and unique physical characteristics, LCS provides operational flexibility and access to a wider range of ports.

A Naval Strike Missile (NSM) is launched from USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), Oct. 1. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Josiah J. Kunkle)

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