The United States Navy has recently began the engineering of development tests for modified Longbow Hellfire missiles. These missiles are being developed to be used on littoral combat ships (LCS) in order to increase the lethality of such combat ships. The Hellfire missile system, known as the surface-to-surface missile module (SSMM), is anticipated to be ready to be deployed and fully integrated by late 2017.
The recent test which utilized these modified Lockheed Martin Longbow Hellfire missiles successfully destroyed a series of targets, which are often called maneuvering surface targets, at both the minimum missile range as well as the maximum missile range. The missiles were launched from the Navy’s research vessel, Relentless.
"This test was very successful and overall represents a big step forward in SSMM development for LCS," said Casey Moton, the LCS Mission Modules program manager captain. For the United States Navy, the integration of the Hellfire missile signifies the next step in evolution in capability being developed for admittance in the Increment 3 version of the surface warfare mission package for littoral combat ships. The Hellfire missile, after completing testing and integration, will be used to support the littoral combat ships’ existing capability of 57mm gun, SERAM missiles, and armed MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter. The LCS is a fast, extremely maneuverable, networked surface combat ship that is designed to combat growing littoral threats and to provide access and dominance in the open coastal waters.
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