The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) mission package finished two testing milestones and LCS-8 finished combat system qualification trials, the Navy said this week.
The Navy is developing ASW mission packages to give selected LCSs a counter-submarine capability. The first milestone was a 10-day Dockside-1 test event on the Dual-Mode ARay Transmitter (DART) mission system towed body and associated launch and recovery assembly components.
The DART uses a variable-depth sonar. In May 2017 the Navy awarded Raytheon [RTN] a $28 million contract to develop the DART submarine-hunting capability. Upon that award the company said it will advance its design to a pre-production test article by late 2018. The contract includes production options that would raise the total value to over $300 million.
In this test, LCS sailors oversaw and actively engaged in operating the DART mission system at the Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute’s waterside product integration, assembly and test complex in Fort Pierce, Fla.
One week later a full-power in-water test of the active array occurred at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Seneca Lake Detachment’s test facility in Dresden, N.Y.
LCS Mission Module Program Manager Capt. Ted Zobel noted in a statement that “the Seneca Lake Test was a huge step forward for the DART System and the ASW Mission Package as a whole. This revolutionary technology is critical to countering the rising submarine threats worldwide.”
The Seneca Lake test was the first chance for the technology to be demonstrated in an open-water test environment. That change allows for a better understanding of how the system will work when deployed on an LCS. The Navy said this test event “provided Navy officials and industry partners valuable information on performance specifications and options for future modifications.”
The DART array was previously tested at Raytheon's shallow-water facility at Portsmouth, RI.
DART is being developed by incrementally testing the individual system components before progressively more inclusive integration and testing. Only after those kinds of tests will the full ASW mission package be tested, the Navy said.
The next step in the ASW development will be Dockside-2 testing, planned for this upcoming fall. That will seek to expand the DART integration scope by adding three more Raytheon mission modules to complete the system.
The Navy said it will take delivery of the DART Mission System from Raytheon later this year and early next year plans to take it to the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center for additional testing.
Separately, sailors on the Independence-variant USS Montgomery (LCS-8) finished combat systems ship qualification trials (CSSQT) on July 1, the Navy said Tuesday.
The qualification had the crew conduct several trials to validate the performance of their combat systems. This included firing exercises and using a 57mm gun against a fast attack craft. The exercise aims to test the ship’s ability to track then disable high-maneuvering surface targets like a fast attack craft.
The trials also included demonstrations of the Automatic Launching of Expendables Decoy Launching System and BAE Systems 57mm Bofors Gun Weapons System.
“The entire Montgomery team has put a lot of hard work and dedication into completing all the required inspections and trials. I am proud of their accomplishments and we look forward to bringing Montgomery's combat power to the Fleet as an operational asset,” Cmdr. Wayne Liebold, commanding officer, said in a statement.
Now that the trials are over, LCS-8 will next focus on training and certifying for deployment. The ship is homeported in San Diego, Calif., and is undergoing routine training and maintenance before deployment.