IOC]. We discovered during TechEval that the MCM
systems, as a combined mission package, did their job.
They found mines in the minefield. The entire detect-to-engage sequence was validated several times including the concept of operations of using the mine neutralization system from the MH-60S helicopter. But
what we found during that trial was that the reliability
of one system, the Remote Multimission Vehicle
[RMMV], did not meet the reliability requirements.
That reliability issue has now caused us to take a step
back. There is an independent review team [IRT] that was
chartered by the CNO [chief of naval operations] and
Secretary [Sean] Stackley [assistant secretary of the Navy
for Research, Development and Acquisition]. The review
is very close to being signed. I’d like to see what our options are for what aspects of the system we’re going to
change, restructure, go after in terms of experimentation
and prototyping, and then get to that IOC. We’ll act on the
recommendations and restructure the way we need to.
We’re not going to put systems in the fleet that are unreliable or don’t meet the mission. At the same time, we have
incredible capability at our disposal between the remainder of the systems and the legacy systems. We are looking
to get additional operational experience with the RMMV,
with the AQS-20A sonar out to the fleet as early as this
year. We’re also working with the fleet to put some expeditionary mine warfare capabilities on an LCS during the
upcoming 2016 RIMPAC [Rim of the Pacific] exercises.
We did some developmental testing of the ASW mis-
sion package in 2014, off of USS Freedom, where we took
an advanced development model using a variable depth
sonar and a multifunction towed array and proved out the
concept of operation of being able to launch, operate and
recover a continuous active variable-depth sonar and
achieve detection ranges that were very impressive. We
had hoped to get some deployment time under our belt in
fiscal 2016, but that’s not going to happen.
We’re going to proceed with developmental testing.
We have proposals from industry partners to get to the
next level, an engineering development model [EDM]
light enough to meet the weight requirements so that we
can deploy it on the ships. We look to have that option
exercised this year, which means an EDM delivery to the
Navy in 2017, so the IOT&E would either be later in
2017 or early into 2018.
Is the program’s number of mission packages
ANTONIO: Under the 52 LCS ship program of record,
there were 64 mission packages — 24 MCM, 24 Surface,
and 16 ASW. That will change with the change in the mix
between the LCS and the new frigate. The frigate will be
a multimission platform with SUW and ASW missions.
All of the MCM functionality will be retained on the LCS.
We’re looking at opportunities where we will procure
the systems that will go on frigates as modular components because they will still be somewhat modular on a
frigate. The idea is to have them installed full time, but
there is still that opportunity to be somewhat modular
for things like technology refresh or if a more capable
system comes along that the Navy decides is a requirement compared to the current program of record. We
don’t want to make it where we need a whole new
redesign to be able to incorporate that change. That level
is a different kind of modularity than the LCS.
Any particular reason that the Independence
class is not deployed yet?
ANTONIO: I would point out that USS Independence and
USS Coronado have deployed, not in the sense of overseas
to Singapore yet, but as part of
RIMPAC ’ 14. Independence
successfully demonstrated the concept of
operations. At the time of the tasking
to go to RIMPAC ’ 14 with an SUW
mission package, Independence had
an MCM mission package on board
for developmental testing. She was
brought into port and that package
was changed out, including the mission package computing environment and the mission detachment,
and the ship got underway and met
all of her commitments.
Coronado operated off Southern
California for RIMPAC with the
SUW package. The plan is for her to
do work-ups this year and deploy to
Singapore prior to the end of 2016.