By Geoff Fein

The Navy last week notified Congress of a critical Nunn-McCurdy breach of the Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle (RMMV) portion of the Remote Minehunting System (RMS) program.

Lockheed Martin [LMT] builds the RMMV.

According to the Navy, in November, the program manager for AN/WLD-1 RMS notified Navy officials of reasonable cause to believe average procurement unit costs for the RMMVs are $12.7 million, approximately 51.8 percent greater (in 2006 baseline dollars) than the original baseline estimate; and that procurement acquisition unit costs are approximately $22.4 million, 85.3 percent greater (in 2006 baseline dollars) than the original baseline estimate.

"The cost increases are attributed primarily to the decision to eliminate the RMMV from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Anti-Submarine Warfare Mission Package (ASW MP), reducing the overall inventory objective quantity from 108 to 54," the Navy said.

The decision is consistent with the LCS Mission Package Report to Congress from May 2008 in which the Navy reported that follow-on ASW MPs will consist of advanced capabilities under development including classified programs, the Navy added.

Additionally, a portion of the breach is due to the additional funding required to incorporate reliability modifications into the RMMV. Growth in RMS reliability was identified as a need during developmental testing, which demonstrated that while RMS meets eight of nine Key Performance Parameters (KPP), the Operational Availability parameter is not met, Navy said.

The reliability KPP is currently under review for the transition of RMS mine countermeasure operations from the DDG-51 platform to LCS and will be incorporated into the reliability growth plan going forward, the service noted.

The Navy said it will work closely with the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics throughout the Nunn-McCurdy certification process. The RMS remains a critical component of the Navy’s mine warfare toolkit that is slated to deploy from the LCS Mission Modules.

The Navy will use experience gained from the initial ASW MP and follow-on advanced capabilities to inform future decisions on ASW MP composition. The Navy remains committed to an ASW MP inventory objective of 16.

The key component of the Navy’s RMS is the RMMV, a robust unmanned, semi-submersible, semi-autonomous vehicle that can be adapted to a broad spectrum of applications and missions, including towing variable-depth sensors to detect, localize, classify and identify undersea threats at a safe distance from friendly ships, Lockheed Martin said. The RMMV provides all-weather, low-observable operations, high endurance, interchangeable mission system electronics, and real-time data transfer capability beyond line of sight (Defense Daily, Jan. 23, 2008).