Navy Test-Fires Griffin Missiles from PC Boats

GriffinNavy patrol coastal ships recently test fired laser-guided precision missiles at moving targets during a recent exercise with the Griffin missiles in the Persian Gulf, service officials said.

So far, the Navy has outfitted four PCs with Raytheon-built Griffin B surface-launched, laser-guided missiles able to hit targets at ranges up to 4 kilometers. The USS Typhoon, USS Firebolt, USS Sirocco and USS Whirlwind are the four PCs configured with the Griffin, said ,” Lt. Joe Hontz, the Navy’s 5th Fleet spokesman.

The Navy plans to have ten PCs equipped with Griffins by 2016, he added.

“The strategy of upgrading the PC’s with the Griffin missile system was to give the ships a more robust capability to defend against multiple surface threats. The Griffin missile system enhances the PC’s self-defense capabilities overall,” said Hontz.

Raytheon developers say arming the PCs with Griffin missiles provides a new layer of defensive technology to the platform.

“The Navy has a layered defense. This is the first time they have been able to extend their defense beyond gun range, now you’ve pushed that defensive capability out to four and half kilometers. Once you’ve identified the threat you can start engaging them sooner,” said Steve Dickman, Griffin program director, Raytheon.

Dickman also said the Griffin employs a dual-mode navigational technology using semi-active laser technology and a GPS-aided Inertial Navigation System.

The idea is to give the 179-foot long, shallow-water PCs the ability to destroy targets at ranges farther than their on-board guns can reach, therefore strengthening their counter-terrorism and counter-piracy mission ability while also increasing their ability to protect commercial shipping.

The installation of Griffin missiles on-board PCs began in 2013, Hontz explained.

“The process begins with the installation of the launcher and weapons control system, Forward Looking Infra-Red Systems’ BRITE Star II sensor/laser designator, and Raytheon’s Griffin B (Block II) missile. The installation process takes about a month to install,” he added.

The 25-foot wide PCs have an eight-foot draft and can reach speeds up to 35 knots. With a crew of 28, the ships are equipped to stay at sea for periods up to 10 days. Many PCs stationed at 5th fleet headquarters in Bahrain are equipped with enhanced communication suites, improved navigation systems and an improved diesel engine control system. They also have two stabilized, electro-optic 25mm gun mounts, Hontz added.

“What’s unique about Griffin is it can provide 360-degree coverage for the ship,” Dickman added.

Raytheon is also developing its SeaGriffin variant which involves a Raytheon-funded effort to develop, demonstrate and ultimately deliver a missile with improved range and a dual-mode seeker, Dickman said.

The SeaGriffin uses an extended range rocket motor and a dual-mode seeker which uses an imaging infrared seeker as well as semi-active laser guidance, he added.  The SeaGriffin will make use of a data-link designed to track multiple threats simultaneously and be able to strike targets at ranges out to 15 kilometers, Dickman said.

Testing of the SeaGriffin is slated to continue this year, Raytheon officials said.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior and a former associate editor at

16 Comments on "Navy Test-Fires Griffin Missiles from PC Boats"

  1. The PC's which the Navy stopped procuring?

    If LCS falls through they may want to look into that 8-cell tactical-length VLS for the Perrys, or put Griffin launch systems on the Perry.

    At this rate the PC will be an effective littoral combatant and small-boat destroyer.

  2. What about the Rail gun?

  3. anemic

  4. So its a Navalised Hellfire missile to be used against. small attack boats

  5. Archie Griffin is considered among the greatest ever to play college football – after all, he's the only player ever to win two Heisman trophies, back-to-back. But he wasn't a quarterback so this makes no sense.

  6. I’m glad their making progress on the getting the Griffins into service on these smaller boats. However, it doesn’t make up for the lack that Fast Attack Craft which is roughtly same tonnage as this ship, has heavier weaponry.

    For sure its meant to deliever seals and do basic patrols, but its still undergun for its size and missions the Navy throws it into.

  7. good thing they didn't try this on the LCS, they would first have to design and build the small moving target boat attack missile module (or SMTBAMM)

    but the SMTBAMM module will cost $6 billions dollars and require 7 years of test and development AND of course Lockhead Martin will be the contractor

  8. PukinPutin | May 8, 2014 at 6:58 pm |

    We have rockeets in our pockeets, time to AMRAAM their JDAMS !

  9. Just curious, does the laser have to be on target all the way to target which means you have to take each target one at a time, or does it have the ability to split, where you have the ability to track and paint multiple targets' at the same time, assigning each target with it's own missile?

  10. This does sound like a worthy programme.

  11. Brimstone.

    fire and forget, ripple fire, 20km

    Cant buy it thought because its UK apparently

  12. Wallygator | May 9, 2014 at 9:01 am |

    That is the size and class of boat I would expect that sort of weapon system to be fitted on – not something like the LCS

  13. Seems like a very small warhead. Didn't do that much damage to the boat itself, can only assume that any people would have been killed. I agree that if it can only engage one target at a time it is worthless against a swarm of small attack boats.
    It seems that the Navy needs a fire and forget system with a larger warhead.

  14. The missile did not do much damage. Seeing this, if I were the "HMFIC", I'd say I want to see a few more tests against more fortified sea going targets, and if what I think will happen…happens……this useless "missile defense system" is cancelled.

  15. Griffin is a joke, and it's a flat out lie that Griffin is good for the Navy. It's a boondoggle for the contractor.

    Griffin is a terrible missile TOTALLY unsuited to the role it's being touted for, because it has low range, an indequate warhead, very slow speed, difficulty targeting hi-speed targets, and the abilty to target only one enemy at a time. In fact, Griffin has severe targeting problems in rainy or foggy weather.

    The Navy RIGHT NOW could go out and buy navalised Hellfire missile launchers from friendly countries like Sweden or Turkey, who would love to sell their hardware the USA. In fact, lots of nations have manufactured navalised Hellfire launchers (stablised, complete with targeting systems, low purchase cost, etc.) for years.

    Or the Navy could buy dirt cheap 40 mk. 4 naval guns. Those things weight 2 1/2 tons all-in with 100 40 mm rounds, require zero deck penetration, fire 3-p multi-function sensor-fused ammunition, reach out to 12 kilometres, and devastate small boats. And I'll say it again: they're cheap.

    But Raytheon wouldn't get paid so much for a low cost, off-the-shelf solution, would it?

    So Raytheon reinvents the wheel, and makes the wheel late, expensive, and cr*ppy.

  16. Allen,
    You are correct!
    The range and "hitting power" did seem rather small..and it's 2014, for goodness sakes, not 1980. The Mk4 guns and off the shelf missile systems can already do what Griffin might do operationally. How did anyone think this was a good idea?

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