Unmanned weapon systems will be the new norm when it comes to modern warfare. This implies that the nations that are investing in military tech will have a competitive edge over those that are not. The former will also be saving the lives of their personnel.
Oshkosh Defense makes the L-ATV (Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle), which is a light utility/combat vehicle that replaced the HMMWV. And there is an unmanned version of the L-ATV, armed with the Naval Strike Missile (NSM). This system is called Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System or NMESIS and is extremely mobile and can massively transform anti-ship defense capabilities.
Last month, Oshkosh Defense received a $23.7 million contract for the delivery of a Remotely Operated Ground Unit for Expeditionary Fires vehicles that are required for the NMESIS. It is expected that Oshkosh Defense will complete the work under the contract in November 2023.
NMESIS is an unmanned anti-ship missile system. It uses NSM missiles, which have been in service since 2012. The NSM was developed by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) and is used by Norway, Poland, the USA, and Germany.
The missile is a 125 kg warhead with a range of 185 kilometers. NSMs are guided using inertial, GPS, and terrain-reference sensors along with information from the target database and IR homing systems. These missiles can be launched from ships or land-based machines. They can fly surprisingly low to the water to not be noticed by the enemy or radar.
The entire NSM missile weighs around 410 kilograms. 2 of them are mounted on an unpiloted Oshkosh L-ATV to form the NMESIS system. NMESIS can be deployed in very less time through amphibious means. It can also be air-dropped if need be.
The NSM system can be used as a land attack cruise missile too. It could replace other cruise missile launch systems and, if expanded, it could even become part of rocket artillery as a more mobile, more advanced, and more accurate HIMARS analog.