Shrike-On-Board (SOB)


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24 May 2022
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During Vietnam the threat of shore-based radars prompted the crash development of the "Shrike-On-Board" system. This consisted of a series of up to four cages mounted on-top of a standard Mk 16 ASROC launcher which each contained a single AGM-45 Shrike Anti-Radiation Missile and was tied into the ships ESM system. As far as I know this was only mounted to a couple Gearing Class Destroyers.

The development and testing is shown as part of the following documentary on the development of the Shrike Anti-Radiation Missile

Here are a few screengrabs from said documentary of the mechanism.
Shrike On Board 1.jpg
1. A land-based testing rig for Shrike-On-Board

Shrike On Board 2.jpg
2. SOB on a Gearing Class Destroyer

Shrike On Board 3.jpg
3. The test firing of SOB while at sea.

Here's an account of SOB's use by the USS Rowan, DD 782, on 27th of August 1972 during an action off Haiphong Harbor as part of Operation Lion's Den.

From the log, "Arrived at Haiphong harbor with the USS Newport News, USS Providence, and USS Robison. At 2230 GQ is sounded, 2310 all ships came to firing course. At 2325 all ships are ordered to go "hot" and commenced firing at coastal gun sites, NVA barracks and other targets. ECM in CIC now sees three cross slot gun site radars radiating, and we now are receiving counter battery! All ships are continuing firing at their targets, still receiving counter battery. Oh shit they are hitting real close now! Providenceand Robison turn out to sea as they have fired their rounds at targets, leaving the Newport News and us in the harbor. The Newport News and we keep firing, when ECM gets a bearing on a cross slot radar site and we launch our first Shrike anti-radar missile at it. This is from our new "SOB" system (Shrike on board). [Seven] min. later another cross slot radar is radiating at us and the second Shrike bird is launched. We are still receiving counter battery and lots of it! Newport News is still providing cover for us, with her 8-inch guns. We see another cross slot radar come up and fire our last two shrikes at it, this time hitting the site! With our entire Shrike missiles fired the Newport News and we turn out to sea at 26knts. As fast as we can. We are still taking heavy counter battery, and sonar reports closest hits at 20 yards off the port bow. We are hauling ass out to sea when radar sees Skunk-A at 17,000 yards closing at 48knts. We request to go hot on Skunk-A and turn 180 degrees to go back and provide cover for Newport News and shoot at Skunk-A. We are shooting at Skunk-A, now at 9,000 yards and closing [on the] stbd. beam. Newport News and we continue shooting at Skunk-Alfa when CIC radar sees Skunk-Bravo closing in on us. But we have tac-air cover and they take Skunk-Bravo. The Newport News and we connect on Skunk-Alfa, a torpedo boat with Russian [Stix] missiles on it, and sink it while tac-air sinks Skunk-Bravo!

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