The Little Cure for Swarm Disease
The U.S. Navy recently revealed that it had successfully tested the Griffin B missile against speedboats in a live fire exercise. The speedboats were under remote control as they were hit by the small missiles. Iran has hundreds of armed speedboats and is suspected to planning to use “swarms” of these small craft against larger American ships. The speedboats could carry a hundred kg (220 pounds) of explosives as well as several men operating machine-guns and RPGs, making such attacks potentially very dangerous for large warships. But ships equipped with lots of small missiles (and large caliber machine-guns) would be able to destroy most swarm attacks.
Griffin B is the heavier surface launched version of the older air launched Griffin A. Griffin B weighs 20.5 kg (45 pounds) and has a 5.9 kg (13 pound) warhead. The missile is 1.1 meters (42 inches) long and 140mm (5.5 inches) in diameter. Griffin’s range is 5,600 meters. Max range of a heavy machine-gun is about 2,000 meters. Griffin uses laser, GPS, and inertial guidance. The Griffins would be directed to their targets by a laser designator on the firing ship. The operator points the laser at the target, fires the Griffin, and within ten seconds the target is hit.
The Griffin B would replace, or supplement the larger RAM missiles currently carried by many U.S. warships. The RAM missiles are 127mm in diameter, three meters (9.3 feet) long, and weigh 73.6 kg (162 pounds) each. The terminal guidance system is heat seeking. Basically, it uses the rocket motor and warhead from the Sidewinder air-to-air missile and the guidance system from the Stinger shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile. The 11 or 21 cell RAM launchers can be modified to accommodate the slightly wider Griffin. RAM missiles cost about $450,000 each, while Griffin B costs about a tenth of that. Griffin can be launched from a variety of other smaller launchers, some of which can be stored inside the ship until needed.