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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • orly?

      Abit more complex to do, but possible

      • Andy

        If you have 30-40 speed boats coming at you, which one you rather have to protect yourself: two Phalanx gun or 2 tube of missiles.

    • Alan

      I have wondered that…why isn’t a laser targeting Phalanx a much more effective means to take out any kind of small boat? I would think that thing would be able to handle swarming boats with ease…it would only take a couple seconds of on target time to take out what I have seen the IRG skipping around in.

      • bevel450

        Do you have any idea of how short the barrel life of a Phalanx is ? That high rate of fire ( you have only two settings…fast and faster) wears out the barells in…..

        Well, you do the homework.

        As a taxpayer and a soldier CWIS is the wrong answer.

    • SJE

      yes, but you can’t have a phalanx on every single ship, whereas a few missle tubes and 50cal would fit on even the smaller naval vessels.

    • Technoweapon

      Sounds like it’d be a good idea. But CIWS is for “incoming”-defense. Last I checked it took about 3 seconds to expend it’s ammo reserve then, at least, 20mins reload by multiple Sailors.

      Maybe they have a burst option available to CIWS now.That’s the only way I see it as feasable. BRRT BRRT BRRT BRRT. Lol.

      The .50 option is always there. 30mm, too. And I think they have 20mm somewhere.

      Not like a swarm is a realistic threat. Is it? Wouldn’t we be able to pick up the boats and maneuver? I imagine our ships can outrange/outrun/outgun just fine. Not like you’re going to keep attacking from speedboats if your little boats keep getting blasted every time you close to within 300m.

    • DB Cooper

      Especially the 30mm version and it would cost a lot less. The military always goes for the most expensive and least reliable option every time.

    • Boldar


    • dennis

      I agree that several Phalanx guns should be on hand for backup.

  • 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?

    • Boldar

      RPG affective range from my memory is approximately 800 yards (correction requested if available), weapon self destructs – Soviets didn’t want to walk on their duds. Ballistic trajectory, comes in two weapon varieties that I know of RPG 2 with a HEAT round, and a RPG 7 fragmentation round (correction requested if available – and appreciated by those knowledgeable in these things thanx in advance).

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • BD Cooper

      Looks like a new mission for the SGT York. Always thought they should have been a infantry support gun platform.

      • blight_

        Nothing wrong with the guns, just the fire control system. Hey look, a tree…!

  • 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.

  • 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?

    • Riceball

      Iran is the primary threat when one talks about swarm tactics. They’re known to have a good sized flotilla of small, armed speed boats and they’re the ones that everybody is worried about because our ships are currently not that well equipped to deal with this sort of threat.

      • STemplar

        They don’t need to be, because a single carrier air wing can annihilate the entire Iranian navy. This non sense works once for the Iranians if they launch a surprise attack. After that, they are toast.

      • JRL

        What nonsense. The real Iranian threat to USN vessels are their Chinese Silkworm missiles, not a bunch of fragile speedboats that can be blown outta the water with a single 40mm cannon shot from two miles away.

        If the USN is serious about protecting their ships from suicidal Islamist swarms, they should stop wasting money on complex missiles that cost a hundred times more than their purported targets, and instead mount a couple batteries of proven and reliable automatic cannons (20-40mm) loaded with high explosive ammo.

        But that would just work. And it wouldn’t be bleeding-edge enough for the ambitious program management officer of today’s USN , and that’s what matters, I guess…

    • cиctema

      It’s ok. Keep living the life of an ignorant sheep. Leave the real debates and protection to the sheep dogs. Stay home, stay lazy and get fat. There is nothing to fear when you are a sheep.

      The Sheepdogs

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

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