Surface Forces: April 30, 2002


The US Navy is working on a new weapon known as the Affordable Missile. This would be a cruise missile with a range of more than 400 nautical miles. It would be 2.4 meters long and carry a 200-pound warhead. It would use basic GPS for guidance and a fold-out wing for lift to improve the range. To save money (the Navy wants a missile costing only $30,000 each) it will fly at only 360 kilometers per hour. The idea is a weapon that can be used in waves for bombardment missions beyond the range of naval gunfire but cheaper than the Tomahawks that will still be used for high-value targets. The Affordable Missile would be launched vertically from canisters, and could be stacked in rows on the deck of amphibious ships or Littoral Combat Ships wherever there is clear space. Versions that could be fired by aircraft or submarines may be developed, and there is speculation that the Army might even find a use for it in attacking targets they cannot get the Air Force to attack for them.--Stephen V Cole




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