The Navy’s new littoral combat ships, all of which are based in San Diego, will get new Longbow Hellfire missiles following a series of successful tests.
During the tests off the coast of Virginia, the details of which were released Thursday, the missiles successfully destroyed a series of maneuvering small boat targets, hitting seven our of eight.
“This test was very successful and overall represents a big step forward,” said Capt. Casey Moton, program manager.
Addition of the accurate “fire-and-forget” missiles increases the lethality of the new ships. The ships will be armed with 24 Longbow Hellfire missiles in addition to a 57mm gun, SEARAM anti-aircraft missiles and an armed MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter. The new missiles will be installed by 2017.
Fast, agile and mission-focused, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near-shore environments. Early in the program there was criticism that the ships did not have sufficient firepower.
The Navy is building 52 of the ships in two variants, single hull and trimaran hull. The ninth ship in the class, the future USS Little Rock, was launched earlier this month.