With a crew of merely 54 sailors, each sailor has to perform the job of five surface sailors in the regular fleet.

The surface Navy is planning to wrap up its over-the-horizon, anti-surface missile competition in the coming months, the Pentagon’s director of Surface Warfare Division said Tuesday.

Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall told the audience at the 2018 Surface Navy Association’s national symposium that he hoped to have the missile competition, intended for use on the littoral combat ships, wrapped up this summer.

The bidding for the requirement has been fraught, with two major competitors dropping from the process leaving Raytheon and Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile as the team to beat.

Looking for more on the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet? Get the latest here.

Boeing’s Harpoon missile and Lockheed Martin’s Long-range Anti-Surface Missile both were pulled from the competition. Both companies felt the competition was skewed towards the Raytheon/Kongsberg offering, Defense News reported in May.

The Naval Strike Missile has a range of more than 100 nautical miles and has target-recognition capabilities that limit the need for another ship or aircraft to hold a track on the target.

Boxall said the addition of the OTH missile was a step in the direction of getting more lethal weapons on surface ships so they can take the offensive. Last spring, the Navy test-fired the Longbow Hellfire, which has a significantly shorter range than the Naval Strike Missile, as a way of beefing up the current anti-surface warfare package on the LCS.

The Hellfire missile on the LCS is intended to counter swarming boat targets.

The next step after getting longer-range anti-surface weapons on surface ships is to work on how to target adversaries at long ranges, Boxall said.

The Navy is looking at a combination of manned aircraft, unmanned aircraft and submarines as potential partners in helping the surface Navy hold adversaries at risk at increasing ranges.

David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.

More In Surface Navy