The littoral combat ship (LCS) often is billed as the ship of the future, patrolling shallow aters where conflicts emerge, but what good
is it without protection from a hostile actor firing a
missile at it? The Navy thinks it has its answer with
SeaRAM, which was put to its first test this summer.
In an Aug. 14 test, the Navy fired a tactical missile
from a Raytheon-built SeaRAM launcher aboard the
USS Coronado (LCS 4), the first live-fire test of the
critical capability. This was a big step for SeaRAM,
which allowed the Navy to see if it could intercept
incoming anti-ship cruise missiles, and will lead to
future risk-reduction exercises.
Dale Eng, spokesman for Program Executive Office-LCS and Program Executive Office-Integrated Warfare
Systems, said in an e-mail to Seapower that the test
involved an Mk15 Mod 31 SeaRAM Close-In Weapon
System (CIWS), and focused on “verification of new capability incorporation.” Future efforts will involve integrating it in the combat system of both the Independence and
Freedom classes of the LCS.
“SeaRAM CIWS provides a quick-reaction, internally
integrated, detect-thru-engage defensive capability that
currently utilizes the Rolling Air-
frame Missile (RAM) as its engage-
ment element,” he said. “SeaRAM
can be employed in either a stand-
alone mount configuration (with
minimal combat system integration)
or operate in a fully integrated com-
bat system environment.”
He added that the SeaRAM
CIWS system boasts a high-data-
rate radar subsystem that allows for
quick-reaction engagements of
missiles that are not detected until
late, or threats that were unengaged
— or “leaker” threats.
“SeaRAM CIWS provides the
option of a low-cost detect-thru-
engage defensive capability in the form of a single weapon
system mount that requires minimal combat system inte-
gration,” Eng said. “This permits relatively easy physical
installation and combat system integration on naval plat-
forms that may require additional defensive capability.”
When paired with other sensors on the ship, its blend
of radar, fire control and missiles will provide “an effec-
tive and affordable air warfare self-defense capability for
small surface combatants such as the LCS,” he added.
Ed Lester, the SeaRAM program director for
Raytheon, said in an interview it was a successful firing
that represented an important milestone: the first tactical firing off a Navy ship by a SeaRAM system, which
was “a long time coming.”
“It was a nominal engagement, and it ended up with a
skin-to-skin [hit],” Lester said. “It’s very exciting for us.”
“We’ve gone through several dry runs and lots of
practice,” he added. “Our technicians have been supporting the ship for several months, and certainly the
Guardian of the Ship
With the first successful firing of SeaRAM,
LCS soon will have protector from anti-ship cruise missiles
By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Special Correspondent
Proving It Out
An Aug. 14 test of the SeaRAM Close-In Weapon System aboard
the Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Coronado
was the first tactical firing off a Navy ship by the system.
; The test allowed the Navy to see if it could intercept incoming anti-ship cruise missiles, and it will lead to future risk-reduction exercises.
; SeaRAM-builder Raytheon is working with the Navy to put
SeaRAM not only on Independence-class LCSs, but the Freedom-class ships as well.
; The Navy has not confirmed whether all older Freedom-class
LCSs will be retrofitted with the SeaRAM capability.