The Navy expects to announce later this year that a variant of the Army’s AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile configured for launch from littoral combat ships (LCSs) has achieved initial operational capability (IOC). The missile, built by Lockheed Martin, will be integrated with a surface-to-surface mission module, or SSMM, within the LCS surface warfare mission package.
All three LCS mission packages—mine countermeasures and antisubmarine warfare, along with surface warfare—continue to receive upgrades, with Northrop Grumman acting as systems integrator. An LCS mission module consists of the weapons, sensors, and support equipment. A mission package encompasses the mission module plus operator personnel, aircraft, and aviation support crews.
The Navy is fielding two LCS variants: Freedom-class ships, built to a conventional monohulled design, and the Independence class, an innovative trimaran design. The odd-numbered Freedom-class ships are built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. The Independence class, with even-numbered hulls, are built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama.