Panama City Beach Chamber News
Developmental Testing for Mine Countermeasures Mission
Naval Sea System Command (NAVSEA) employees and Fleet operators completed the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) mine countermeasures (MCM) mission package (MP) developmental testing on March 15, 2012.
Under the direction of Program Executive Officer Littoral Combat Ships (PEO LCS), and the LCS Mission Modules Program Office (PMS420), scientists and engineers from Naval Surface Warfare Centers Panama City and Port Hueneme, conducted the tests with U.S. Navy Sailors onboard USS Independence (LCS 2).
“NSWC PCD performs the integration and certification of systems and software supporting the modular open architecture capabilities for Littoral Combat Ship,” said NSWC PCD Commanding Officer Capt. Scott Pratt, USN. “The end result of these tests onboard (LCS 2) were very positive overall for the U.S. Navy. The Sailors, engineers and scientists were able to rapidly reconfigure mine warfare systems successfully demonstrating this future mine warfare capability for the U.S. Navy.”
Panama City, Fla., employees provided critical Subject Matter Expertise, training, and logistics support to the LCS 2 Sailors in order to conduct the various test missions, while Port Hueneme, Calif., employees served as mission test directors and evaluators. Fleet users are the active-duty Sailors who receive organic mine warfare mission module training on various systems in California for both General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin Littoral Combat Ship sea frame ships. Each sea frame has the capability to Launch, Handle and Recover (LHR) Organic Offboard Vehicles (OOVs), which requires different training. Specifically, (LCS 2) uses a Twin Boom Extensible Crane (TBEC) with a three point lift system to launch and recover the Remote Minehunting Systems onto the seaframe. LCS 2 is a trimaran hull designed by General Dynamics; USS Freedom (LCS 1) uses a stern ramp for LHR missions and is a mono hull ship, designed by Lockheed-Martin.
“Working with the Sailors during the LHR Developmental Test (DT) phases also allows the project support teams to identify training gaps,” said Todd Bowden, LCS mission module program manager at NSWC PCD. “There is always room for growth and that’s what developmental testing supports. It identifies opportunities for future design improvements, training gaps or any other unexpected issues.”
During the developmental test phases, organic mine countermeasures detect, neutralize and minesweeping missions were conducted for shallow and deep water focused mine hunting scenarios to include the RMS, Airborne Laser Mine Detection Systems (ALMDS), Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS), the AN/AQS-20, in addition to multiple sortie missions using an MH-60S. Phase One of the LCS MCM MP developmental testing was conducted from September to October 2011. Phase Two Developmental Testing began January 5, 2012 and completed March15 2012.
“These detect to engage, and reacquire missions were conducted in an operational environment with the Sailors performing the work, assisted by the technical subject matter experts,” said Bowden. “We were there to help them whenever they needed it, and to identify any equipment issues or training gaps.”
In preparation for successful Operational Test and fleet introduction for the LCS MCM MP, further developmental testing is being planned. The LCS Mine Countermeasures mission package is scheduled to reach initial operational capability by 2014.