In a year’s time, progress has been made in all programs ranging from Combat Crafts to mini submersibles to Unmanned Underwater Vehicles as USSOCOM gears towards peer nation challenges. Naval News presents a summary of the NSW programs discussed at Virtual SOFIC 2021.
CCFLIR 1 and CCFLIR2 Built by FLIR® Systems
Regarding the next-generation of thermal imaging night vision for the NSW’s combat craft, CCFLIR2, USSOCOM will continue to sustain the legacy CCFLIR1 until all of the CCFLIR2s have been delivered and integrated into the combat boats. 47 out of the planned 58 CCFLIR2 units have been delivered.
CCFLIR1 is considered obsolete (such as those mounted on the SOC-R). The SOC-R has a limited weight capacity for a FLIR turret system and SOCOM will look to Defense industries for a suitable weight solution. CCFLIR2 is integrated on all three CCHs and is undergoing integration on the CCMs. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division is the partner.
Precision Strike Munitions and Remote Weapons on NSW’s Combat Crafts
USSOCOM’s PEO Maritime’s Captain Slaffexplained that the Combat Crafts are being tested and developed to mount a Precision (Guided) Strike Munition (PSM) to increase their distance lethality. The“A-Kit” adds the system to mount and integrate the sensor(s) and/or weapon(s) to the craft (such as boat hull modifications and associated fire controls) whereas the “B-Kit” is the actual sensor(s), weapon(s), and launcher(s). For instance, the MK 50 Remote Weapon System (“B-Kit”) is a .50cal M2HB heavy machine gun, and another “B-kit” is the future munitions module launcher (MPE-M) with a munition that is suitable for maritime environment that “meets or exceeds the desired performance and kinetic effects,” said Captain Slaff.
SOCOM would not confirm exactly what the maritime PSM would be, but vSOFIC 2021 showed slides of possible examples such as the Switchblade 300, Switchblade 600, Hero-120SF and Hero-30SFR loitering drone attack munitions, and the SPIKE NLOS Anti-tank Guided Missile. If implemented, these PSMs would give the Combat Crafts a guided missile that can launch, fly, loiter and patrol, scan, detect, identify, track, and attack targets at distances far exceeding the .50cal M2HB and 7.62mm machine gun and 40mm grenade launcher’s range.