The Navy has awarded its latest building contracts as part of its ongoing effort to strengthen the country’s defense capabilities and military modernization.

The US Navy awarded American aerospace and defense giant Raytheon Technologies a $234 million contract to build and deliver the Over-the-Horizon Weapon System (OTH-WS) last week, March 22.

Raytheon is set to work on the production in Norway, Germany, and various locations in the US, and it is expected to be completed by March 2027.

What is the Over the Horizon Weapons System?

As defined by the Navy in its fiscal year 2020 program fact sheet, the “OTH-WS program is a long-range, surface-to-surface warfare system intended to engage maritime targets inside and beyond the radar horizon.” It consists of the following components: an “operator interface console, Naval Strike Missile (NSM), and the Missile Launching System.”

NSM launched via USS Coronado (LCS-4) in September 2014 (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

This NSM is an offensive missile featuring a high-resolution imaging infrared seeker and anti-surface warfare semi-armor-piercing payload.

Moreover, it is a state-of-the-art designed to strike “heavily protected” enemy naval targets from up to 100 nautical miles (115 miles), with a secondary land attack role. Aside from the US, this anti-ship and land-attack missile is also being used in Norway and Poland, with future use in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Latvia. Meanwhile, India, Indonesia, and Ukraine showed interest in the NSM, potentially procuring the system soon.

Going back, the OTH-WS is a stand-alone system that requires “minimal integration into the host platform,” programmed to “receive targeting data via tactical communications from combatant platforms or airborne sensors, and requires no guidance after launch.”

Once delivered, the Navy intends to employ the weapon system in its littoral combat ships (LCS), guided-missile frigates, future FFG(X) vessels, and amphibious transport dock (also known as landing platform dock, or LPD)-class ships.