U.S. Navy coastal patrol ships and U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats conducted an annual test of the MK-60 Griffin guided-missile system in the Arabian Gulf December 10-14.
The annual exercise was conducted with the improved Griffin Missile System (GMS) to test ship interoperability, weapon tactics employment, and new system upgrades.
«This system improves combat capability on our 10 Patrol Craft, ready to work with regional partners and respond to threats; able to maneuver and strike from a distance», said Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S 5th Fleet.
Exercise participates included Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) patrol coastal ships USS Sirocco (PC-6), USS Tempest (PC-2), USS Squall (PC-7), USS Hurricane (PC-3), USS Whirlwind (PC-11) and island class patrol boats USCGC Adak (WPB-1333), USCGC Aquidneck (WPB-1309), and USCGC Baranof (WPB-1318).
The ships also conducted live fire exercises with their Mark-38 25-mm machine guns and other crew served weapons to maintain operator proficiency and test new equipment upgrades for future missions.
«The data collected from this year’s exercise will help improve the GMS to provide increased lethality amongst our FDNF ships», Lieutenant commander Ronald Jenkins, commanding officer of the USS Sirocco (PC-6). «Each participating ship can apply lessons learned to sharpen individual tactics and procedures to increase precision in weapons employment».
Eager to integrate and demonstrate the upgraded GMS into their ships’ systems, each captain was impressed with its capabilities and the crew’s performance during the exercise.
«This year’s Fire Exercise (FIREX) was an outstanding opportunity for the crews to test our skills and the capabilities of one of our primary weapons systems», said Lieutenant commander Dale Tourtelotte of the USS Hurricane (PC-3). «It was exciting to see my crew and the various technical experts come together and execute the FIREX successfully».
U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
«This exercise addresses a validated requirement to out-pace and decisively defeat small boat threats at a distance», said Vice Admiral Malloy. «We can hold any attacker at risk by employing speed combined with accurate striking power», said Vice Admiral Malloy.
MK-60 Griffin Missile System (GMS)
The MK-60 is a surface-to-surface missile system installed for ship self-defense to counter small boat threats.
The Mark-60 GMS is being installed aboard cyclone class ships – Patrol Coastal (PC) combatant. Ten ships will be forward deployed, assigned to Commander, 5th Fleet located in Manama, Bahrain, and installed with the GMS at program completion. Assistant secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition) approved the integration and deployment of the Griffin Missile onboard PC platforms as part of a Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC) leveraging existing Government Off-The-Shelf (GOTS), Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) and Non-Developmental Items (NDI). The RDC for the GMS was approved in June 2011 and achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in October 2013. PC combatants with GMS installed possess a layered small boat defense capability building upon the point defense provided with the Mark-38 gun weapon system. The Mark-60 GMS consists of the following system components: Mark-4 Battle Management System (BMS), Mark-208 griffin launcher module, AN/SSQ-133 BRITE Star II Electro-Optical and InfraRed (EO/IR), Laser Range Finder (LRF) and Linear Displacement (LD) sensor and the BGM-176B Griffin B All-Up-Round (AUR).
|Primary Function||Surface-to-surface missile system for ship self-defense against small boat threats|
|Contractor||Griffin B AUR contractor is Raytheon Missile Systems
BS II contractor is FLIR Systems Inc.
BMS is a Naval Surface Warfare Center- Dahlgren Division (NSWC DD) GOTS
GLM is a NSWC DD GOTS
|Range||~ 3.0 NM/3.45 miles/5.56 km (effective range)|
|Type Fire||Single launch, multiple salvo|
|Caliber||5 inch/12.7 cm|
|Guidance System||Semi-Active Lock (SAL)|
|Platforms||USS Tempest (PC 2), Manama, Bahrain
USS Hurricane (PC 3), Manama, Bahrain
USS Monsoon (PC 4), Manama, Bahrain
USS Typhoon (PC 5), Manama, Bahrain
USS Sirocco (PC 6), Manama, Bahrain
USS Squall (PC 7), Manama, Bahrain
USS Chinook (PC 9), Manama, Bahrain
USS Firebolt (PC 10), Manama, Bahrain
USS Whirlwind (PC 11), Manama, Bahrain
USS Thunderbolt (PC 12), Manama, Bahrain