On 5 June Norway announced the first live fire ship-to-ship engagement test of its Naval Strike Missile (NSM). The new antiship weapon was launched from the Steil, a stealthy 260-ton Skjold-class air-cushion patrol boat. Following launch, the missile was accurately guided toward the retired 47-year old Oslo-class frigate Trondheim, and the 264-pound warhead detonated amidships, severely damaging the 1,700-ton target ship. The stricken Trondheim was then towed back to port for further analysis. The NSM is a modern turbojet-powered, sea-skimming, GPS- and infrared-homing replacement for the Penguin-series missiles. With a range of more than 90 miles, ship-launched versions of the NSM are planned for service with Norway, and a number of other countries have expressed interest in importing the weapon. A land-based version is on order for use by Polish coastal defense forces, and an air-launched variant is also under development.
By Eric Wertheim