The US Navy (USN) is preparing to complete testing of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) during 2018, hence giving the green light for this new anti-surface warfare capability to transition to production.
The SSMM utilises the US Army’s AGM-114L-8A Longbow Hellfire missile in a vertical launch configuration to confer the LCS with a capability to interdict multiple swarming surface threats.
According to Captain Ted Zobel, program manager for the LCS Mission Module Program (PMS 420), USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) was fitted with a surface warfare (SuW) mission package including SSMM in August 2017. “We have missiles on LCS 5 today ready to take the test,” he told an audience at the Surface Navy Association annual symposium on 11 January. “When LCS 5 completes her PSA [post-shakedown availability], as part of her CSSQT [Combat System Ship Qualification Trials] SSMM will commence and execute the first part of the DT [development test] regime for that programme in the April/May timeframe.
“After that, we will pull the MECS [missile exhaust containment structure] out of LCS 5 [and] we’ll put it in LCS 7 [USS Detroit ]. We’ll take LCS 7 through the remainder of the DT/OT [developmental test/operational test] and TECHEVAL [technical evaluation] regime, and LCS 7 should deploy with this capability sometime next year .
“About the same time that LCS 7 deploys, we’ll roll into production and start building these and deploying them on the SUW division ships.”
A SSMM structural test firing was previously carried out from Detroit in February 2017. “We did our structural test fire off LCS 7, we scheduled the beginning of DT on LCS 5, and then we’re going back to LCS 7,” said Capt Zobel. “It was all based on ship schedules to support our testing.”
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