The software that runs each of the Littoral Combat Ship mission modules was separately developed and will require integration in the next two years to make training easier and to allow the ship class to deploy a mix of the mission packages, a senior Navy officer for the LCS program recently said.

The LCS is designed to deploy multi-mission packages for mine countermeasures (MCM) and anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare (ASW), each of which can be swapped into the ship to carry out the various missions, a key reason behind the Navy’s stated need for the vessel.

But the software systems for operating each module are different. They were adopted from legacy programs already in the fleet for carrying out operations in each of those three areas, Capt. John Ailes, the program manager for LCS mission modules, said at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference last week.

“Because it came out of these three different communities, there is work to be done so that an application doesn’t care which one of those packages it’s living in,” Ailes told reporters.

The separate software systems were lifted from the MCM, anti-surface warfare and ASW communities because they were proven and allowed for the speedier development of the mission modules, but merging them will be critical for training as well as to allow for the fleet commander to mix components of the modules on a ship, Ailes said.

“What we got was very reliable, common with the rest of the fleet,” Ailes said. “What did we not get? We didn’t cross the streams across those. Nobody has wanted to until now.”

“There will be this desire to mix and match,” he added.

Ailes noted that all three forms of the software operate on the same hardware. Ailes said the goal is to building commonality into the systems throughout fiscal 2012 and into 2013.

Initial operational capability (IOC) for the MCM and surface packages is scheduled for 2014, with ASW set to hit IOC in 2017.