The Mk60 missile system with the AGM-176 "Griffin" missile is supposed to be used to protect against small-sized high-speed targets trying to break through to the ship. This could be a motor boat with enemy manpower or some kind of watercraft equipped with a powerful explosive device and intended to attack a warship. The characteristics of the Mk60 complex allow you to destroy a target before it enters the zone of action of small-caliber artillery or machine guns mounted on a ship. Thus, the operation of the Mk60 complex provides a multi-layered defense against small surface targets that pose a danger to the combat ship.
On September 27, as part of testing the Mk60 missile system, a demonstration launch took place at the Point Mugu test site in the state of California. One of the patrol boats of the Cyclon type took part in the tests. In accordance with the test launch plan for the rocket, a light boat with a remote control tried to approach the ship. The calculation of the Mk60 complex in time discovered the training target and successfully hit it with a rocket. It is worth noting that this is not the first successful launch, during which the "Griffin" rocket, applied by the Mk60 complex, was able to hit a conventional target.
The Mk60 complex consists of several modules that can be installed on any suitable ship or boat. On the ship mounted launcher and control panel. In addition to them, the complex includes the AGM-176 missile, delivered in a transport and launch container. This rocket was created in the middle of the last decade as a cheap alternative to widely used aviation AGM-114 "Hellfire" missiles. In its appearance, the Griffin missile is significantly reminiscent of anti-tank guided munitions, which is due to the widespread use of developments gained from previous guided missile weapons projects, including the FGM-148 "Javelin" and AIM-9X "Sidewinder". Currently, the AGM-176 missile is used in the US Air Force as an armament for combat helicopters and attack aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles.
The AGM-176 guided missile with a length of about 1,1 meters has a starting weight of 33 pounds (about 15 kg) and carries an 13-pound (about 6 kg) high-explosive fragmentation warhead. Ammunition is equipped with a solid-fuel engine. When launching from a ship, a rocket is capable of hitting a target at a distance of 5,6 kilometers. The Griffin missile guidance system is a combination. Depending on the type of target, the calculation of the missile system can use the most appropriate guidance system. So, for the attack of fixed targets it is proposed to use inertial guidance system or satellite, receiving signals from GPS satellites. In the case of an attack of a moving target, the operator of the complex has the ability to direct a rocket using a semi-active laser system. As stated, the controls of the Mk60 complex have the most simplified interface, which greatly simplifies the work of the operator. When using a laser guidance system, it is enough for the operator of the complex to hold an aiming mark on the target. Highlighting the target and guidance missiles are made automatically. Allegedly, several variants of the attack of the target, differing from each other by the rocket's flight path, have been developed. Depending on the tactical situation, the operator of the complex can send a missile in a straight line or attack the target from above. Undermining the warhead can be made as a contact fuse, and on command from the remote.
Recent tests have confirmed the combat effectiveness of the new missile system. The official Raytheon press release cites the words of the representative of the US Navy, Captain M. Ledner. Representative fleet noted that the Mk60 complex provides the required accuracy and effectiveness of hitting targets. According to the management of the company Raytheon Missile Systems, which was engaged in the direct development of the complex and the Griffin rocket, the use of the Mk60 will ensure the safety of ships and minimize possible side effects without reducing combat effectiveness.
In the near future, the Mk60 missile system will be adopted by the naval forces and the United States Coast Guard. Thus, the AGM-176 "Griffin" rocket will expand the range of its tasks. Now this ammunition is used in versions intended for the air force and ground forces. Now the rocket will also be used by naval units. It is assumed that the use of missile systems Mk60 will allow in the future to protect ships from all sorts of attacks from the water, including with the participation of suicide bombers. The contract for the supply of missile systems Mk60 for installation on ships and boats of the coast guard may be signed this year.
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