The mine-countermeasures mission package for the Navy’s littoral combat ships (LCSs) is cheduled for its formal initial operational test
and evaluation this summer, a major step toward
reaching fleet acceptance and serial production. If all
goes well, package could reach initial operational capability during the first half of fiscal 2016.
The July initial operational test and evaluation
(IOT&E) will be a major test for the mission package —
or MCM MP — and its modules, which will be operated
by Sailors like those who will operate the systems in
real-world mine-hunting and -sweeping operations
“The Increment 1 MCM mission package completed
the final phase of developmental testing in October
2014,” said CAPT Casey J. Moton, program manager of
the LCS Mission Modules program office. “We success-
fully conducted two complete end-to-end missions in
which the MCM Detachment performed exceptionally
well. We took a lot of lessons learned from the test,
which resulted in minor updates to the MCM mission
package, procedures and training. We are now entering
the operational testing process.”
The MCM MP on April 22 began its Technical Evalua-
tion, which Moton called a “dry run” for the upcoming
The four major Increment 1 mission modules scheduled for evaluation during the IOT&E are the MH-
60S helicopter, the Airborne Laser
Mine Detection System (ALMDS);
Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS); and Remote Mine-hunting System (RMS), consisting
of the Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle (RMMV) and the AN/AQS- 20
Mine-hunting Sonar. Other than the
MH-60S, each of these systems is in
“Each of the individual MCM
systems in the MP first undergo
system-by-system development and testing so that they
are sufficiently mature prior to MP operational testing,”
Moton said, noting that all of the Increment 1 systems
“have completed their respective developmental testing
regimens and are now proceeding to operational testing.”
The MH-60S carries the ALMDS and AMNS on its
Carriage Stream Tow and Recovery System (CSTARS).
The AES- 1 ALMDS is a pod-mounted blue-green laser
sensor that scans the water for surface and near-surface
mines and logs three-dimensional imagery and their position for future disposition. The ALMDS was deployed on
the MH-60S to the Persian Gulf last summer for an early
operational capability status, though not from an LCS.
The ASQ-235 AMNS carries four self-propelled,
remotely operated Archerfish destructors to destroy bottom and moored mines. The helicopter’s AMNS launch-and-handling system, connected to the helicopter’s console by fiber-optic cable, lowers the destructor launch unit
into the water. Each of the destructors can be launched
singly and is equipped with sonar and an electro-optical
camera and a light to acquire and positively identify a
mine, and then be commanded to detonate the mine.
The RMS RMMV is a diesel-powered, semi-submerged
unmanned surface vehicle that tows AQS- 20 sonar to
locate mines during a preplanned search pattern.
The Navy’s LCS mine-countermeasures
mission package readies for operational evaluation
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
The first increment of the littoral combat ship’s mine-countermeasures
(MCM) mission package will be put through its initial operational test
and evaluation this summer.
■ Two helicopter-borne systems and one unmanned surface vehicle
with a towed sonar will be tested.
■ Initial operational capability of Increment 1 is scheduled for early
■ Three more planned increments will introduce new MCM systems.