Shoring up defense over the horizon

On the coast of the Black Sea, Romania continues to augment its defense strategies.

The NATO member recently signed an agreement to acquire Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defense Systems built by Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business of Raytheon Technologies, in partnership with the Norwegian company, Kongsberg.

Amid increasingly sophisticated threats, this latest version of NSM CDS will bolster Romania’s defensive advantage against high-end maritime targets.

“Romania is taking another leap forward in its military modernization journey,” said Kim Ernzen, vice president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, the world’s largest manufacturer of missiles. “Romania will now join the U.S. Navy and two other NATO allies in operating the latest generation anti-ship cruise missile available today.”

Precision defense
Naval Strike Missile engages targets at distances greater than 100 nautical miles, well beyond the horizon. It flies at very low altitudes, its advanced seeker keeps it on course, and it has a programmable fuze that activates the missile only when it is very close to the selected target.

Of particular importance to Romania, due to its diverse topography, is that NSM can climb and descend in line with the terrain.

“Romania is getting fifth generation defensive technology with NSM – a fully developed, fully fielded anti-ship cruise missile system,” said Mike Ellison, Requirements & Capabilities lead for Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “Because of its design and low-cruising capabilities, NSM can evade detection and tracking in any environment. It’s very advanced, highly capable, highly maneuverable and highly precise.”

Known for its “sea-skimming” capability, Naval Strike Missile can fly at very low altitudes over land and water. (Kongsberg photograph)

Competitive advantage
NSM includes several other features and technologies that contribute to its edge over other coastal defense weapons:
* It observes ‘no fly,’ ‘no attack’ zones.
* Its target recognition technology reduces risk of collateral damage.
* Its passive seeker does not alert the enemy.
* It greatly reduces an adversary’s reaction time.
* It is resistant to electronic countermeasures.
* It is designed for no-GPS environments.
* It can outmaneuver advanced defenses.

NSM does not require a specific radar – just a sensor that provides the necessary targeting data. Another key benefit: The missile can be integrated on a wide variety of platforms. Romania’s NSM will be launched from land-based vehicles, adding mobility to the country’s coastal defense.

The system has been tested extensively, both virtually and in the physical world. Raytheon Missiles & Defense used digital transformation technology, such as computer modeling and simulations, in the design phase. Then, the team validated the system’s superiority in operations and field tests. For instance, one memorable demonstration took place at the 2018 Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the world’s largest event for international maritime warfare. That’s when the U.S. Army performed the first-ever land-based missile launch out to sea, firing NSM at a ship from a truck-mounted Coastal Defense System.

Game changer
Today, the Romanian government—the first to sign a foreign military sale agreement with the United States—is now on track to receive its NSM, the world’s only fielded fifth-generation long-range anti-ship cruise missile. In addition, the CDS will include mobile launch vehicles; a platform for command, control and communications; transport and loading/unloading platforms; sensors; initial logistics support and maintenance; testing equipment and training on operations and upkeep. NSM is also designed to handle updates, as Raytheon Missiles & Defense monitors the military equipment for potential improvements to remain ahead of evolving threats.

The new systems will not stand on their own, of course. They will be closely aligned with Romania’s existing inventory and incorporated into its military command and control structure. This kind of integration not only expands Romania’s defended area; it also enhances the defensive capability of the country’s total force well into the future.

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