Earlier this week, the U.S. Navy’s littoral combat ship USS Savannah (LCS) successfully launched an SM-6 missile from the MK 70 Mod 1 Payload Delivery System. The Lockheed Martin containerized vertical launching system – capable of firing both a Raytheon Standard Missile 6 as well as a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile – was placed on the ship’s helicopter deck.
The launcher had first been spotted on the deck of the Independence-class LCS while the ship was pier-side in San Diego last month.
It was on Tuesday that a live-fire demonstration took place in the Eastern Pacific Ocean utilizing the containerized launching system that fired an SM-6 missile at a designated target, the U.S. Navy announced.
“The exercise demonstrated the modularity and lethality of Littoral Combat Ships and the ability to successfully integrate a containerized weapons system to engage a surface target. The exercise will inform continued testing, evaluation and integration of containerized weapons systems on afloat platforms, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement.
Video of the launch from LCS-28 was shared on X – the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
The Army’s Typhoon
As previously reported by USNI News, the MK 70 launcher is part of a U.S. Army program dubbed Typhoon, and it is one of the service’s emerging family of land-based precision weapons that vary in range from a few hundred to thousands of miles. The technology is based on repurposing the existing MK 41 launching system that is already the standard launcher for the majority of the U.S. Navy’s fleet, as well as several allies.
Aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin delivered four prototypes of the platform to the U.S. Army in December.
Post INF Treaty Launcher
The U.S. military’s ground-launched long-range missiles are able to cover ranges that were previously prohibited under the now-defunct Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which prohibited the signatories from having ground-launched missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
In October 2018, then-President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the treaty due to Russian non-compliance, in which the Kremlin developed and deployed an intermediate-range cruise missile; and to counter Chinese arms buildup in the Pacific. China was not a signatory.
Since the demise of the INF treaty in 2019, the U.S. has been moving fast to re-introduce missiles that cover those ranges.
MK 70 Mod 1 Payload Delivery System
The MK 70 PDS utilizes four strike-length MK.41 VLS cells housed in a 12-meter (40-foot) container. It was first unveiled in September 2021 following the launch of an SM-6 by the USV Ranger using the system.
It has been primarily tested with the SM-6s, but it is compatible with every missile currently integrated into the MK.41 VLS, including the 1,200-mile (1,600 km) range Tomahawk Land Attack Missile and its variants.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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