IN A WELCOME exploitation of its long-held potential as a weapons service, the Thales Australia Bushmaster single cab utility car is being proposed as a cell and guarded ship killer in a joint collaboration with Kongsberg Defence Australia (KDAu). The workforce is proposing to suit the Bushmaster ‘ute’ with a twin-pack launcher for the 400kg Kongsberg Block 1A Naval Strike Missile (NSM) as a low-risk answer to the Australian Military’s Land 4100 Part 2 land-based anti-ship missile (ASM) requirement. In an unique briefing to DTR concerning the new system, KDAu Basic Supervisor John Fry mentioned that the brand new launcher configuration for the confirmed NSM Coastal Defence System – referred to as StrikeMaster – was flowed by way of Military Headquarters late final yr to gauge curiosity within the CONOPS (idea of operations) and its functionality. It’s the way in which the US Marine Corps (USMC) has gone and this Australian configuration permits us to align very a lot with their CONOPS.

Naval Strike Missile (NSM)

The StrikeMaster launcher would additionally carry the benefit of being of a modest dimension that might be readily concealable underneath tree canopies however tough to seek out, repair and destroy. Land-based ASM programs just like the NSM Coastal Defence System additionally present the Military with better crucial mass and deployable fight energy that aligns with Australia’s maturing defence technique for the Indo-Pacific and the idea of joint operations. Not like the USMC NMESIS (Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System) that makes use of an unmanned Joint Mild Tactical Car with the cab eliminated to be able to accommodate the NSM launch canisters, the StrikeMaster launcher retains the Bushmaster’s two-man cab that accommodates the driving force and car commander.


Naval Strike Missile Missile Launch Vehicle (NSM MLV)
Naval Strike Missile Missile Launch Car (NSM MLV)

Every NSM on the StrikeMaster launcher comes already built-in into its personal canister or Launch Missile Module (LMM). The missile is saved, transported and fired from the LMM, which is successfully a factory-sealed unit. Reloading a launcher car with missiles requires the whole spent LMM to be swapped out with a loaded one. Every loaded LMM weighs roughly 900kg and the entire weight of the twin-pack launcher (a pair of LMMs, launcher mechanism and body, hydraulics, energy and electronics sub-systems) slightly below 3,000kg. The LMM is similar for each ship deck launch and car launch.

The NSM Coastal Defence System adopts the identical Fireplace Distribution Centre (FDC) and system structure used for the Military’s NASAMS (Nationwide Superior Floor to Air Missile System) short-range ground-based air defence system being delivered underneath Land 19 Part 7B, however with coastal defence fireplace management software program embedded. The FDC is used on this latter position by Poland. The CEA Applied sciences CEATAC radar can be utilized to offer nearer vary detection and monitoring if desired, though the system would most certainly utilise focusing on info from exterior sensors and programs. An entire NSM Coastal Defence System sub-unit would probably comprise three StrikeMaster missile launcher autos, an FDC car, missile resupply car and an elective radar car.

US Marine Corps Unmanned JLTV Fires Naval Strike Missile for First Time
US Marine Corps Unmanned JLTV Fires Naval Strike Missile for First Time

Choices for the FDC car embrace integrating that functionality in a regular Bushmaster or leveraging off the FDC variant already developed for Land 19 Part 7B the place a 13ft shelter is built-in onto the in-service 40M 4×4 truck. A 40M resupply car geared up with a crane would have the ability to carry a number of LMM reloads. It’s also attainable to deploy simply the StrikeMaster missile launcher autos as a stand-alone functionality with a particular laptop computer loaded with tactical software program, permitting them to fireside missiles whereas being separated from the FDC, as a again up choice or when tactical circumstances dictate. The launcher for StrikeMaster and the whole Bushmaster utility car can be made in Australia, KDAu mentioned: the latter little question at Thales’ Bendigo facility and together with its established provide chain, and the launcher by KDAu and its native companions.

When it comes to placement into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Hunter and ANZAC-class frigates, Hobart-class air warfare destroyers, Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels and now the MH-60R Seahawk naval fight helicopters (armed with the NSM-HL model) are all property for which NSM is a candidate ASM answer. KDAu has additionally put to the Commonwealth the quad-packed NSM launcher, which is in service with Poland and has been chosen by Romania, on a HX77 8×8 truck. Though Land 4100 Part 2 continues to be early within the functionality growth cycle, KDAu believes the StrikeMaster might provide some alternative for an accelerated introduction into service. One other Sensible Purchaser initiative, as per Land 19 Part 7B, may be acquisition choice. KDAu says that last growth of the StrikeMaster launcher could possibly be achieved quickly and an NSM Coastal Defence System fielded by the Military inside 2-3 years.