HomeMILITARYNSM (Naval Strike Missile): The successor to the Harpoon

NSM (Naval Strike Missile): The successor to the Harpoon


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Today’s article will be dedicated to modern NSM (Naval Strike Missile) anti-ship missiles, which were developed by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defense. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom decided to get rid of the Harpoon missiles and replace them with the more modern NSM missiles. This is why this article was written.

As the relevant announcement states, the NSMs will be an interim solution until the future anti-ship weapon of the Fleet, under the name “FC/ASW” (“Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon”) or FMAN/FMC (“Futur missile anti-navire/Futur missile de croisière” in French) is completed.

The NSM development program

NSM (Naval Strike Missile): The successor of the Harpoon

The start of the development of the missile in question began in the late 1990s, with the program aimed at building a missile that would replace the older Penguin-type missiles.

The Norwegian Armed Forces also took part, since one of the goals of the program was for the system to be used by all branches of the armed forces.

As a result, the NSM was designed to be carried by aircraft, ships, and ground-based launchers. The first firing was successfully carried out in October 2012 by a Skjold-class corvette of the Royal Norwegian Navy.

Technical Specifications

NSM (Naval Strike Missile): The successor of the Harpoon
KAUAI, Hawaii (July 12, 2018) A Naval Strike Missile (NSM) is launched from the back of a Palletized Load System (PLS) by the U.S. Army, targeting the ex-USS Racine (LST 1191), positioned at sea, during a sinking exercise as part of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018. (Captured from a video by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Nathan Barbour)

The NSM is characterized by its low radar cross-section (RCS) and high survivability against modern anti-aircraft systems, making it particularly difficult to detect and destroy. This is largely due to its high agility as well as its maneuverability, as it can withstand many G maneuvers.

Also, it can fly very low over the waves and change its flight to match the shape of the ground without being affected by enemy countermeasures.

It has a length of 3.96 meters, a weight of 407 kilograms, and a range that exceeds 185 kilometers. It also has a high precision strike capability using an infrared seeker and it can develop speeds of Mach 0.95 using a TRI-40 type turbojet engine.

NSM operators and available platforms

The NSM (Naval Strike Missile) arms the Norwegian Skjold-class corvettes and Nansen-class frigates, while in the US Navy it is carried by the LCS (Independence and Freedom classes). In the future, it will also be used by the Constellation class frigates, and six more navies will proceed with the installation of the missile on their ships.

At the same time, the NSM is also used by Poland, serving in the Coastal Defense Missile Squadron. It has also been chosen by Romania for the same role.

The NSM has been certified on the F-16 fighter and is slated to be certified on the F-35 by 2025 if all goes according to plan.

To Sum Up

The NSM is one of the best anti-ship missiles and in the coming years it will probably see a large number of exports.

Tell us what you think in the comments!

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