LCS anti-sub package finishes round of testing, Navy says

Dec. 5 (UPI) — The Navy took delivery of final components of the Littoral Combat Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Mission Package on Nov. 30 following “rigorous” testing.

The Dual-mode Array Transmitter Mission System and ASW Mission Package will provide the LCS with the anti-submarine equipment necessary for one of the ship’s primary missions, the Navy said on Tuesday.

The package includes a towed-array sonar the provides better capability at variable depths then ones mounted on the hull. It will be one of the standard mission modules for the LCS, but not be included on every ship.

“The DART Mission System is an essential component of the LCS ASW Package, and when coupled with the SQQ-89 acoustic processing, the Multi-Function Towed Array and MH-60R helicopter, makes up an ASW MP that will provide revolutionary capabilities to the fleet,” LCS Mission Module program manager Capt. Ted Zobel said in a statement.

The pre-production test article, a term for development of a new system, remained on schedule and met contract requirements issued in 2017, the Navy said.

The Navy plans to initiate future testing at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center. It will include in-water demonstrations in preparation for further development work on the USS Fort Worth.

The LCS is designed specifically to operate in shallow coastal waters, along with regular sea operations. It is designed to be modular, allowing multiple weapons and sensor packages depending on the mission of the ship.

The vessel’s standard armament is a MK 110 57mm gun. It can also be equipped with RIM-110 RAM surface-to-air missiles and a variety of other ordnance. It can carry up to two helicopters and vertical take-off drones like the MQ-8 Fire Scout.

It is meant to be modular and carry several mission packages depending on the model and mission. It comes in two highly similar variants, the Freedom-class by Lockheed Martin and the Independence-class by Austal USA.

The LCS has suffered from design issues and less firepower then it’s mission would require as a general-purpose combatant. Though production continues, it is expected to be supplemented by a new class of Guided Missile Frigates that carry vertical launch systems for missiles and other heavy weaponry.

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