SAN DIEGO --- The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mission Modules (MM) program successfully completed Developmental Testing (DT) of the Coastal Mine Reconnaissance (CMR) mission module aboard USS Coronado (LCS 4) off the coast of Southern California Feb. 22.
Consisting of the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle with its Mission Control System (MCS), the AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlespace Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system with the airborne payload sub-system and the post-mission analysis sub-system, supporting software and support containers, the CMR mission module is supported by MINEnet Tactical, a web-based solution for command and control of mine warfare battlespace.
The COBRA system is integrated on the MQ-8B, providing daytime detection of surface-laid mine lines, mine fields and obstacles in the beach zone. Mission analysis is performed upon completion of the flight.
The purpose of the CMR mission module DT was to exercise the system in realistic environmental conditions using the assigned crew and aviation detachment to verify that the system is ready for operational testing.
"This DT marks the last critical step in demonstrating the CMR mission module capability on the LCS Independence variant prior to fleet introduction," said Capt. Theodore Zobel, LCS Mission Modules program manager.
The test began by embarking the CMR mission module, mission package software and associated test equipment and completing installation checks. DT consisted of nine distinct missions, including mission tasking from a shore-based mine warfare commander mission planning by the ship and assigned aviation detachment, flying the planned mission, downloading and analyzing the collected data and transmission of analyzed data off the ship to the mine warfare commander.
All missions were successfully completed ahead of schedule. Test participants included USS Coronado, Aviation Detachment HSC-21.3, Mine Countermeasures Detachment 6, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Port Hueneme Division, NSWC Panama City Division and Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center.
"The recently completed DT and previously completed integration and shore-based testing prepare the ship and train the crews for more complex mine warfare missions and initial operational test and evaluation, scheduled to begin in March 2018," said Zobel.
PEO LCS is affiliated with the Naval Sea Systems Command and provides a single program executive responsible for acquiring and sustaining mission capabilities of the littoral combat ship class, from procurement through fleet employment and sustainment. The combined capability of the LCS ships and LCS mission systems is designed to dominate the littoral battle space and provide U.S. forces with assured access to coastal areas.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The first Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom, was commissioned on 8 November 2008.
The above press release means that its minehunting mission module completed its development tests a full decade later, while others are still in development, which seems an odd way to develop a ship one of whose main missions is minehunting.)