At Defense One’s State of the Defense “USMC Amphibious Operations” webinar presentation on September 15th 2022, Brig. Gen. Joseph Clearfield, Deputy Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, stated that the United States Marine Corps (USMC) added three other anti-ship munitions, borrowed from other U.S Armed Forces branches, into its own arsenal.
According to Brig. Gen. Clearfield, the USMC always had the Harpoon anti-ship missile, but in August 2019, the Marines demonstrated the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from 60 miles out for a land-based anti-ship missile using the unmanned JLTV Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS). The USMC also has two other munitions, the U.S. Army’s AGM-179 JAGM (Joint Air-to-Ground Munition) and the U.S. Air Force’s Quicksink super-cavitating JDAM. Combined, that gives the USMC four anti-ship munitions, three more to complement the USMC’s Harpoon missile. Two munitions are delivered from tactical aircraft (Harpoon and QUICKSINK), one via rotorcraft (JAGM), and one is vehicle land-based (NMESIS NSM). This does not include the potential USMC land-based fielding of the Maritime Tomahawk on a Mark 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) derivative trailer or the DARPA hypersonic OpFires.
“Basically, we went from just a few years ago from demonstrating one lethal munition to now we feel very comfortable that we got four that we can deploy from different platforms. The JAGM, we didn’t get a chance to actually employ that. We know it works; we’ve exercised it before, but that comes from our H1 [USMC AH-1 and UH-1 helicopter] variant. So really what we got, we got a ground system that can sink a ship. We got a tactical air, fixed wing, we got two that can sink a ship. And then our H1 helicopters now, we demonstrated that we got a munition that can destroy a ship. They were probably the big takeaways. Last thing is the form factors through which we communicate: HF [high frequency], UHF [ultra-high frequency], VHF [Very High Frequency], SATCOM [satellite communication]…all these form factors, even our data transmissions, the ones and zeroes, the form factors keep getting smaller and smaller. And we were able to experiment with that out here during RIMPAC 2022.”
Brig. Gen. Joseph Clearfield, Deputy Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific
According to the U.S. Army’s website, “The Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) System provides an improved air-to-ground missile capability for rotary wing aircraft and unmanned aerial systems. The JAGM is an aviation-launched, precision-guided munition for use against high-value stationary, moving and relocatable land and naval targets.
JAGM utilizes a multimode seeker to provide precision point and fire-and-forget targeting day or night in adverse weather, battlefield obscured conditions, and against a variety of countermeasures. A multipurpose warhead provides lethal effects against a range of target types, from armored vehicles, thin-skinned vehicles and maritime patrol craft to urban structures and field fortifications. JAGM delivers the joint services a single air-to-ground missile with improved lethality, operational flexibility and a reduced logistics footprint.
“The JAGM provides the warfighter the ability to destroy high-value stationary, moving and relocatable land and naval targets from standoff range day or night, in adverse weather and in battlefield-obscured conditions.” Naval News readers can read more about JAGM here and the NMESIS here.