Navy Nails Speedboats With Griffin Missiles

In case you haven’t seen this, the Navy has begun testing Raytheon’s Griffin mini-missiles for use in defending its ships against swarms of explosive-laden, fast-moving small boats. Yes, the Griffin is already being used in combat with great success by the Marines aboard their KC-130 Harvest Hawks that are pinch-hitting as gunships. As you know, the sea service is planning on installing theGriffin aboard the Littoral Combat Ships to, well, protect them against swarms of small boats, among other things.

Here’s Raytheon’s announcement of the successful tests:

he U.S. Navy proved the ability of Raytheon Company’s Griffin B missile to engage rapidly moving small boats during a recent live-fire demonstration.

“This demonstration shows the Griffin missile’s effectiveness in engaging the type of small, fast-moving boats used by swarming threats and pirates,” said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems’ Air Warfare Systems product line. “Griffin is fully developed, in production, lightweight, precise, and can be easily integrated on a wide variety of vessels, making it an excellent weapon for near-term threats.”

During the demonstration, which took place late in the first quarter of 2012, three Griffins were fired from a sea-based launcher at three separate speeding-boat targets more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away. The weapons were guided by laser, and scored direct hits on the target, achieving all demonstration objectives.

About the Griffin
The Griffin missile is in production and integrated on the C-130 Harvest Hawk. The combat-proven Griffin A is an aft-eject missile designed for employment from non-conventional platforms such as the C-130 aircraft. Griffin B is a forward-firing missile that launches from rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft and ground-launch applications.

The Griffin enables the warfighter to engage targets via a user interface and guide the weapon to the target using GPS coordinates or laser designation. To maximize lethality, the user can choose to engage the target with height of burst, point detonation or fuze delay.

  • Griffin is 43 inches long, weighs 33 pounds and has a 13-pound warhead.
  • Griffin has been fired from C-130 platforms and, most recently, from a modified RAM launcher.
  • Griffin has a proven track record of successful rapid integration.
  • Taylor

    Seems like some 50 caliber machine guns would be better for close in action. The speedboats are allowed to get pretty close to the ships from what I have seen. And bullets are a lot cheaper.

    • Flounder

      That’s what I was thinking as well. It seems like against a “swarm” a heavy machine gun would be more effective. I think it is just me but when someone says swarm I think many boats (like 10 or more) all coming at once… Maybe i’m missing something but then maybe the point of having these missiles is just to give the ships another weapon.

      • Chuck

        I think if the Navy needed to transit the Straits and a swarm attack was suspected, that SEALs would be dispatched to destroy as many missile batteries as possible. The Cyclone class ships and a bunch of heavily armed Mk V boats would be present among the capital ships. The ship decks would be littered with 25mm guns, AH-1Zs and SH-60Rs with door guns would be everywhere. The ports would be bombed immediately. Marines landing on the several islands near the Straits would follow.

        Forget the swarm boats, a barrage of guided artillery missiles, like the MLRS with IR and/or radar homing guidance would be hardest to counter. Might want to consider putting something like the Iron Dome system on the ships. Not even sure how good that would be against 150 or so guided rockets.

    • David

      The missile allows target acquisition and engagement at a greater distance from the ship. This means no worry of collateral damage from suicide boats getting too close before being successfully engaged. Also engaging them farther out means you can thin the pack before they become a real threat.

      • SJE

        Yep, and 13lb explosive warhead deal with armor better than a 50cal.

    • Deluxe

      All hands on deck: leave no weapons off the table.

    • boldar

      Definitely like the Ma’ Deuce, was surprised that deck mounted 25mm with HE rounds were not implemented. Might as well use a small magazine fed RAM system with the early Sea Sparrow manned guidance / tracking system.

  • Andy

    Try Phalanx gun to see what happen.

  • Alan

    In the event of actual conflict, I doubt they will be getting as close as they have been in recent taunts. They will stand off with this for sure.

  • Kooch

    Lets hope the jet ski’s dont have a weapon that can reach out more than 1.2 miles

  • SJE

    What is the minimum effective range that this can target? If a boat is thought to be friendly, gets to 500 m and you suddenly see them lifting an RPG out of the hold, can you get the missile off before they launch?

  • Nick

    The General Atomics rail gun concept for this was pretty cool, much more cost effective on a per-kill basis.

    Also this is going on the LCS? I thought the plan was to have them be totally unarmed? /sarcasm

  • Musson

    If you are swarmed by 30 to 50 speed boats – you better have a lot of tricks up your sleeve.

  • ian

    A really cheap and easy solution is have a Marine stand on the bow with a Javelin missile.

  • tribulationtime

    Trials is one thing reality other. 35000 dollars per boat? they win the war. Problem! What we are talking about when we say Speedboat?. A boston waler? weapory 1 RPG 2 RPK 3AK so Gau-19 w/i Raufoss? A 120tonnes boat? weaponry more stand-off weapons than griffin range, so engage w/i 76mm superapid 200 rpm airburst or mark 45 127mm 5-7 rounds airburst splash a lot of sea surface. Current, integrate, cheaper, reliable and combat tested.

    • Technoweapon

      I’m fairly certain that speed boat means your stereotypical 4-6 man boat. Highly maneuverable, fast, decent range, hard to hit. Not a bad idea if you’re going to target larger ships… If not for the array of weaponry afforded those larger ships.

      Price is irrelevant. A swarm would be stomped by aircraft and ship-defense systems. Then that ship plots out where those boats came from and it’s bye-bye base of origin. Or maybe we put up UAV’s and follow the string to suppliers and other bases, eventually unraveling the whole operation. Then boom. One day of hard work for the Navy and that whole operation is smoked.

    • B_Smitty

      It’s not just RPGs or HMGs. Iran has armed craft as small as the 16m PEYKAAP-II with anti-ship missiles.

      • blight_

        Those would be the C-701 or the TL-10?

    • tribulationtime

      Price is irrelevant? before make cuts. I supouse you know that boats. Maneuverable not so, less with 2 or 3 meters waves. Fast? “stereotypical” don´t reach 25 knots. Decent range? 20-30 miles w/i a lot of fuel cans stored. Hard to hit? Yes, Griffin has not range, speed or maneuverable enought. At last I dubt it has better rate of kills than other cheaper solutions. Wikipedia-Kowsar missile 15-20 km vs 2km griffin.

    • tribulatiointime

      April 18, 2012 During the demonstration, which took place late in the fourth quarter of 2011, a Griffin was fired from a land-based RAM launcher at a static target more than 3 kilometers (approximately 2 statute miles) away. The weapon, guided by GPS and laser, scored a direct hit on the target, achieving all demonstration objectives. New WEB of fabricant. New 2(same source) During the test, warfigthers fired a Griffin missile from a launcher at a static target more than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away. Using GPS coordinates generated by a tethered aerostat, the missile directly impacted the target, achieving all test objectives. more cheaper a Bofors 57mm (as LCS)

      • tribulationtime

        Sorry!! vintage news

    • Tribulationtime

      I forget 3km vs 5km it a lot of speed remained on missile. Again it is not needed, same role be cover with a cannon. It is worst if you have discard RAM to put Griffin.

    • China and India will have to be part of any solution, but at the same time we connat say to them they connat develop. Climate change is a problem caused almost entirely by the developed world (China has only recently become a major GHG emitter, while the US have been a major emitter for a very long time, and China still have a much lower GHG per capita that the US).And these countries will continue to generate CO2 ten years into the future, making anything the West does moot. Nevertheless, it’s still a good idea to replace fossil fuels with other energy sources. We can’t depend on them forever.

  • Marcellus Hambrick

    Some 30 or 40 mm deck guns would get the job done using proximity fuses. Would have a decent kill range as well.

  • George Gauthier

    Why not a chain gun like the Bushmaster 25 mm automatic cannon which has an effective range out to 3,000 meters? That could engage all sorts of targets including swarms of small boats.

    • tiger

      I was not impressed by the USCG trying to sink a trawler a few months back. The 25mm was just poking holes.

  • Lance

    Looks cool for coastal patrol a fast attack missile boat. good for small water ways like the Persian gulf, the Baltic, or to make for the Philippines to better there small patrol navy. Cool boat idea though.

  • Theadore

    What if the swarm was 20 jet skies with suicide drivers on a block of C4 or TNT and a simple switch that when the driver falls off the ski explodes, or a couple of rps strapped to the ski frame pre-aimed to say 500m?

  • JRL

    More gold-plated nonsense whose actual primary mission is to protect the all-important continued escalation of share value for the patriotic American stockholder…

    BTW, where exactly are these swarming hordes of kamikaze Islamic corsairs I’ve been hearing about for the last two decades?

  • Abe Lincoln: woot master

    Slytherin won’t like this.

  • dan

    So they finally put Hellfires on boats, something they should have done two decades ago. Gave them a new name to hide this.

  • PolicyWonk

    Everyone loves missiles – but they are appallingly expensive per shot (maybe having some around would be useful – but not as the only weapon for this kind of defense). Guns are MUCH cheaper (and missile vendors hate them for it). The LCS needs a better way to defend itself from the swarms – and that better way is likely via chain guns.

    What the LCS really needs are weapons that can “reach out and touch someone”, thereby making it a dangerous opponent – or one that needs to be attacked with a good deal of caution.

  • Nick T.

    With enough of these we can completely neutralize Irans naval capabilities (Har Har). Seriously, I like what applications this thing has going for it. Speedboats aside, anyone know if this thing can engage tanks effectively?

    • Chuck

      Engage them certainly, destroying a modern MBT would require a special anti-tank warhead. The warheads are available, but might not have been integrated on the missile, although it might be a dual purpose warhead capable of defeating a tank. A 13 pound warhead is large enough to mess up most tanks. Having a HEAT warhead or better, an Explosively Formed Penetrator would be ideal though. The current target set for the missile would ideally use something like a Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) to avoid collateral damage while destroying anything in the immediate target area. But, this would not be ideal against a tank.

  • Reddevildemo

    Give me a couple mini guns and some Gung Ho sailors
    , that’s all it will take.

  • NativeSon

    Iran: What happens when the religious right gets a hold of government.

  • paul

    Has anyone considered an area denial weapon ? ie… some sort of CBU unit via cannon or mortar ? It sounds naive , but , I would be interested ” why not ? ”

  • ltfunk2

    This is just sad. If the navy has to deploy a new weapon to defeat a bunch of guys in a woodern boat with an RPG then they have already lost.

  • kski

    Upgrade all the surface combatants with additional point anti air defense like RAMs and CIWS’ great for both the stupid Iranians and the Chicoms. And how bout a couple of extra five inchers and reinstate the battleships for onece.

  • Nightmare

    More bullshit spending from the OBAMA administration, another toy to spend money on. All they need is to bring back PUFF the magic dragon. Works from any platform; worked in Nam. 50mm gatling gun, just listen to the whine and watch the smoke.

  • Keeper_of _Horses

    Ah Folks…er consider this…the chances of the Iranian speed boats even leaving port to deploy against a battle group is PRETTY small. Chances are we already know where their boats are kept and chances are that Air power will sink the whole bloddy fleet before they leave port. Sorry to spoil the fun for the blue water Navy. but thae is the most likely scenario. End game!!

    • Zenpistolero

      I’m all for the wisdom of “Don’t use a cannon to kill a mosquito”, but you have to be able to consistently kill the mosquito some other way before you say the cannon is unnecessary or the threat of malaria is PRETTY small.
      Those insignificant little boats buzzing around were enough to induce a fog-of-war condition sufficient to put a Navy ship captain into a fuzzy combat mindset. Captain Rogers of the USS Vincennes mistook an Iranian Airbus climbing to cruising altitude for an F-14 descending at his ship in an attack.

      Underestimate the effect of small weapons platforms and fighting units at your peril.Those little speedboats are low enough to the water that they blink onto radar occasionally and then they disappear for a little while. Captain Rogers ran one of his 5″ guns till it was out of ammo, then turned the ship to engage with his other gun until it jammed. Then he went back to the forward gun till it was empty again. You would think that all that shooting and the Aegis system would have been able to sink one of those insignificant little boats… but you would be wrong. Even with a cannon aimed by a space-age targeting system, he couldn’t kill the “mosquito”.

  • Guest

    The solution already exists..Longbow Block 3. A single Army Longbow company can provide 24 hour coverage for ships in the narrow Straits passage, and could be operated from an austere land environment, or sea based, even from barges. And it already carries the chain gun, Hellfire, and 2.75″ rockets that seem to be the preferred weapons for this type of thing.

    …and the Navy could still feel free to bomb the shore bases, and have their ships wail away at leakers in some type of close in defense zone.

    • blight_

      They were going to field Ground Launched Hellfire: what about Sea-Launched Hellfire?

  • Robert

    Great Upgrade.

    Lets eliminate all the small fast boats.

    One rocket and a bunch of them eliminated.

    How sweet it is !!!!!!!!!!!

    Use all technology available to exterminate the pirates….


  • Joe

    LCS will have 30mm chain guns as well.

  • Infidel4LIFE

    the brits and french used them in libya. they knocked out tanks, armor. its effective. The LCS needs an inland strike capability. A HIMARS platform? GPS guided? YES.

  • Mastro

    Well- great it works- but it really needs greater range- 4 miles to NLOS’s 25 ?

    Of course Griffin actually works- NLOS’s range was scifi.

    I just don’t know how they will use Griffin- won’t the 30 mm chain gun target the same speedboat? And then shoot down the Griffin?

  • Aceracer

    Check out info here,,
    Sez surface range is 3.5 miles.
    Then when they get closer,,,Phalanx,,,
    THAT should do it!!!

  • Bob

    Have to spend big bucks that could be used in a better way.

  • Homer

    i STILL SAY, put WOMEN OFF SHIPS, AND SUBAMRINES: women and ships are NOT helping the Navy! I know, I served abaord one vessel, the first w/women aboard and you never saw such a mess in your life! Don’t kid me, go kid your grandma, women are Jonah’s they do NOT belong on ships/subs….period!!

  • Homer

    Does anyone KNOW what happened to Col Allen West , Now congreesman West? i would like to know? Please advise….Was he reprimande as the other Col and go off w/a slap on the hand for whatever he did as the other col was accused and found guilty of adultery and so many other counts of insubordination? Curious?

  • Homer

    Col west…nahhhhh?

  • USN Retired

    A swarm of small boats(speed boats, jet ski, sail boat) got to be at least 10 or more to be somehow effective, and to repel this using this missle is a very expensive proposal. What happened to the Close In Weapons System (CIWS) and 50 cal. that has protected the ships for 30 years or more, these seems to be very effective. I know the government is trying to help create jobs, but little common sense tells me that my hard earned dollars should not be spent aimlessly by this bureaucarats and lobbyist. USN Retired 30YRS.

  • js warren

    I see that the Navy never learned their lesson for Nam! when Iwas deployed on a 710 class destroyer (out of FRAM) , we had no small arms such as 3’50 OR 50 CAL WEAPONS for defending from small craft attacks.
    NOTE in FRAM the Navy removed all these weapon even on some ships they removed a 5’38 mount. So in short somebody woke up and started in stalling smalls arms prior to deployment to NAM.


    When evaluating a weapon system you need to consider the enemy’s reaction when fired at by this weapon system. The crew of the targeted speedboat will have one man at the stern will a smoke generating device and when they see the missiles being launched will embark on a 360 degree turn while laying
    smoke. Smoke breaks up laser beams and may provide effective screen against Thermal Imaging sensors. A formation of speedboats can be screened by one of its members and can easily manage to creep in close to the ship without being effectively engaged but those high tech weapons.

  • chacko

    This is just a natural progression of the old defense-in-depth strategy used to counter anti-ship missiles. Navy ships will continue to be loaded with machine guns when in hostile waters, but this gives another layer of defense.

  • prexybill

    Bring back the PT Boat armed to the teeth with modern weapons like the 30mm chain gun, GAU 19 .50 caliber 3-barreled gatling gun, the M197 3-barreled 20mm gatling gun, the Mk10 Mod 3/Mk47 Mod 0 AGL, the Mk2 Mod 1 (or later) 81mm mortar w/piggy-backed .50 caliber M2HB MG. and, of course, the Griffin missile, which could be carried in 9-missile pods similar to the ones used by late-war PT Boats.. The weapons could be remotely operated with the operators in an armored control center. The boats could be propelled by high-powered water jets for speeds in excess of 40 kts.,.and to allow the boats to operate in waters too shallow for even the LCS class vessels. Modern materials and a super-efficient high speed hull design combined with the Boston Whaler’s inherent bouyancy concept could give the Navy a highly survivable patrol craft to supplement the Freedom and Independence classes. Oh, in addition, the stern could incorporate a ramp similar to the one on the Mark V SOC.
    The boat should be capable of underway replenishment/refueling. The boat should be able to stay out at least a week w/o replenishment. and a range of about 3,000 miles at cruising speed. Of course, don’t forget Radar, FLIR, etc.

    • Guest

      Stand up a whole new class of updated WWII PT boats? Good,the cheap route then.

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