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US Navy to deploy USS Gabrielle Giffords littoral combat ship armed with new Naval Strike Missile


US Navy to deploy its littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) to the Pacific from San Diego with the new Naval Strike Missile (NSM) built by Kongsberg and Raytheon. The LCS-10 is also equipped with the new MQ-8C Fire Scout vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) unmanned air vehicle (UAV).


US Navy to deploy USS Gabrielle Giffords littoral combat ship armed with new Naval Strike Missile 925 001 The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) transits the Pacific Ocean. Gabrielle Giffords is conducting routine operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean. (Picture source US Navy)


The USS Gabrielle Giffords is the second LCS to deploy in 2019. The LCS Montgomery deployed from San Diego in June. The Montgomery is currently operating in the Gulf of Thailand. The U.S. Navy plans to acquire 35 Littoral Combat Ships.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords is the ninth littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the fifth Independence-variant LCS. She joins other LCS, including USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6) and USS Montgomery (LCS 8), who are also homeported in San Diego.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) is an Independence-class littoral combat ship of the United States Navy. The ship was delivered to the U.S. Navy on 23 December 2016, and commissioned the following spring on 10 June 2017, in Galveston, Texas.

LCS is a high-speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface combatant designed for operations in the littoral environment, yet fully capable of open ocean operations. As part of the surface fleet, LCS has the ability to counter and outpace evolving threats independently or within a network of surface combatants. Paired with advanced sonar and mine hunting capabilities, LCS provides a major contribution, as well as a more diverse set of options to commanders, across the spectrum of operations.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords is armed with the new Naval Strike Missile manufactured by the Norwegian defense company Kongsberg Defense Systems, which produced the weapon jointly with US Company Raytheon, as early as 2014. The new weapon extends the range at which it could strike enemy vessels by more than 30 miles (48 km). Without the NSM, the service’s longest reach is provided by the RGM-84 Harpoon, with a range of roughly 67 miles (108 km).

SM is the only fifth-generation long-range precision strike missile in existence as per today. The airframe design and the high thrust to weight ratio give the NSM extremely good maneuverability. The missile is completely passive, has proven its excellent sea-skimming capabilities and with its advance terminal maneuvers, it will survive the enemy air defenses. The Autonomous Target Recognition (ATR) of the seeker ensures that the correct target is detected, recognized and hit, at sea or on land.