An artful dodger

Evasive, Sea-Skimming Missile Gives Navies an Edge

 Naval Strike Missile

Known for its "sea-skimming" capability, the Naval Strike Missile can fly at very low altitudes over water and land. (Photo: Kongsberg)

The world’s largest missile maker and Norway’s premier supplier of defense and aerospace-related systems are teaming to produce the Naval Strike Missile, the only fifth-generation cruise missile in service today.

The NSM, built by Raytheon and Norway’s Kongsberg, features advanced design and technology, starting with its “super-sea-skimming" capability. The missile can fly at low altitudes and close to the ocean surface, emitting signals that are difficult to detect by enemy radars.

"As threats become more sophisticated, naval ships need an offensive solution that can reach their targets in complex environments while avoiding enemy detection. NSM answers that call, and leverages the investment and development that Norway has already made," said Zack May, Raytheon Missile System's Joint Strike Missile director.

NSM is deployed on two classes of Royal Norwegian Navy ships

NSM is deployed on two classes of Royal Norwegian Navy ships: Skjold-class missile corvettes and Fridtjof Nansen-class Aegis frigates. (Photo: Kongsberg)

NSM fills a gap in the middle-range distance of a key mission for today’s navies: offensive anti-surface warfare (OASuW).

The NSM has a range of more than 100 nautical miles, flies at high-subsonic speed and can perform evasive maneuvers designed to counter the most sophisticated defense systems in the world. 

That range means the NSM also rounds out a complete suite of Raytheon solutions for OASuW. 

“Raytheon has an answer for each layer of this mission, from inside the horizon with the Griffin missile, NSM at the middle-range, and to Tomahawk for long-range and moving targets,” May said.

Raytheon and Kongsberg have a long-standing partnership that has provided key technologies and cost-effective solutions to warfighters. Previous collaborations include the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, the missile system that protects Washington D.C., and the Joint Strike Missile

The Naval Strike Missile first became operational in 2012 and is deployed today with the Royal Norwegian Navy on Nansen class frigates and Skjold class corvette, and the Polish Defense Forces, which use a land-based variant. 

In 2014, the U.S. Navy conducted a successful demonstration of NSM on the LCS USS Coronado as part of the Foreign Cooperative Test Program.

Published On: 04/09/2015
Last Updated: 06/01/2018