Photos First Revealed U.S. Army Unmanned Vehicle Launches Anti-Ship Missile to Deter First Island Chain

A new unmanned U.S. Marine Corps anti-ship missile launch truck was recently revealed for the first time, the U.S. Naval Research Institute (USNI) reported April 28.

Raytheon has released a photo of the anti-ship missile carrier, revealing that the U.S. Marine Corps has mounted the Naval Strike Missile on an unmanned tactical delivery vehicle.

According to the report, on the 28th, Raytheon released a photo of the “Expeditionary Ship Interceptor System” (NMESIS), a weapon system that was tested last November in Point Mugu, California. The U.S. Marine Corps worked with Raytheon to verify the weapon’s capabilities by firing a Sea Strike Missile from a Remote Operated Ground Expeditionary Unit (ROGUE).

The Navy and Marine Corps are seeking new land-based anti-ship missiles to support the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Forward Base Operations (EABO) concept, the Naval Research Institute News Network reported last year. The concept would be for the Marines to move between expeditionary bases (such as those established on islands or coastlines in the Pacific) and work with the Navy fleet operating in nearby waters.

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Eric Smith has also previously said that the Sea Strike Missile could be mounted on a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) as a short-term way to achieve an anti-ship capability. But in the long run, the U.S. Marine Corps may want land-based cruise missiles more. Smith said at the time that the Marines could also launch the missile from a “remotely piloted fire fighting vehicle” to strike targets at long range.

Smith previously told the Senate Armed Forces Subcommittee on Maritime Forces, “We’re often asked, what are the Marines doing with anti-ship missiles? Our answer is really simple, we are a combat force on the Pacific coast, particularly on the first island chain, and as such, we can already, through collaboration with the U.S. Army, fire the High Mobility Rocket System (HIMARS).”

He added, “We can launch an ‘Army tactical missile’ with a range of several hundred miles. For us, any littoral combat force should have weapons systems that can pose a threat to enemy ships.”