in the deep water approaches, and
will provide in-stride ASW escort
and self-protect torpedo defense
Part of the idea behind the mis-
sion packages is to make them fair-
ly easy to swap out.
“These mission packages can be
exchanged in order to reconfigure
the ship for a different mission in a
short period of time, giving a combatant commander a uniquely flexible response to changing warfighting requirements,” NAVSEA said.
It takes about 96 hours to change
out a mission package, which must
be done in a port with the proper
support equipment and personnel.
Some challenges remain in the
development of the mission modules. For example, Marc DeBlasio,
Northrop Grumman’s director of the
“Each of the mission packages is evolving, and I
believe they’ll continue to evolve as new weapons and
sensors come out,” he said.
Once the packages are in full use in the fleet, DeBlasio
believes they will make the Navy a lot more flexible.
“Traditional ships are built for a single focus, like
the mine warfare fleet right now, or for multiple purposes, like an Aegis cruiser, which leaves it kind of
inflexible,” he said. “The whole theory behind the LCS
program is one focus on the littorals.
“We can’t afford a 600-ship Navy, but the missions
keep expanding,” he continued. “If you ask any surface
warfare officer which ship is doing surface warfare, the
answer is all but the answer is also none. ... Now you have
a new threat of these small swarming boats, guys on jet-
skis with small missiles or fishermen in rowboats trying
to plant bombs on your hull. You can design and produce
these mission packages in a very short period of time.”
The Navy also has talked about fielding other mission
packages beyond the original three. DeBlasio said North-
rop has looked at packages that would focus on counter-
piracy and harbor security, for example, and he thinks
the service will take an interest in those ideas.
“Eventually, we believe the Navy will look at building those mission modules,” he said. ;
Engineers from Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City, Fla., recover the
Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle, part of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) mine
countermeasures mission package, after at-sea tests Oct. 2, 2010, aboard the
Office of Naval Research vessel Sea Fighter, which acted as a surrogate for
the LCS. The mine countermeasures mission package provides LCS platforms
with the capability to detect, identify and neutralize sea mines.
“A suite of offboard sensors and systems will be
used to detect, localize, identify and neutralize mines,”
NAVSEA said. “MCM-configured LCSs can clear tran-
sit lines for [carrier strike groups] and [expeditionary
strike groups], or clear larger operating areas to facili-
tate joint forcible entry operations. MCM-configured
LCSs will be equipped with a full range of systems to
independently conduct MCM missions.”
The SUW mission package also will be an important
part of the LCS concept as the Navy seeks to deal with
the threat of swarms of small boats. The package can
be used to provide operational security in interdiction
missions against terrorists and pirates, as well as pro-
vide defense against shore attacks while operating in
the littoral, according to NAVSEA.
“These capabilities, when joined together, permit
the ship’s crew and the fleet commander to operate
with confidence and address threats to the fleet while
operating in the littoral and in constrictive environ-
ments,” the statement reads. “The SUW MP augments
the core LCS ship sensor and weapons capabilities
with gun, missile and aviation systems, providing a
layered defense capable of rapidly detecting, tracking
and prosecuting small boat threats.”
Finally, the ASW mission package will allow the
LCS to combat nuclear-powered submarines as well as
their quieter diesel-electric counterparts.
“The LCS ASW mission is to conduct ASW operations
in support of a carrier strike group or amphibious readiness group, or while operating as part of an LCS surface
action group or independently,” NAVSEA said. “LCS with
ASW MP will be effective in the shallow littoral as well as