The surface-warfare mission package for the littoral combat ship (LCS) program will go through its initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) on board the USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) early this year, the first of three mission packages being developed for the LCS class to reach that milestone.
The mission packages—dedicated configurations of systems for surface warfare, antisubmarine warfare (ASW), and mine countermeasures (MCM)—are in various stages of testing, systems integration, and development. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems acts as systems integrator for the mission-module program.
Captain John Ailes, the Navy’s manager for mission-module integration in the Program Executive Office for Littoral Combat Ships, explained that the mission packages consist of the weapon and sensor “modules” for each of the three warfare areas, plus the aviation and mission detachments. The surface-warfare and ASW mission packages employ the MH-60R variant of the H-60 Seahawk helicopter; the MCM package uses the MH-60S. “We’re delivering capability incrementally, so we’re adding it over time,” he said.