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Littoral Combat Ships - Mission Modules

 
Description
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a fast, agile, and networked surface combatant, optimized for operating in the littorals. The primary missions for the LCS include countering diesel submarine threats, littoral mine threats, and surface threats, such as small surface craft attacks, to assure maritime access for joint forces. The underlying strength of the LCS lies in its innovative design approach, applying modularity for operational flexibility. Fundamental to this approach is the capability to rapidly install interchangeable mission packages (MPs) onto the seaframe to fulfill a specific mission, and then be uninstalled, maintained, and upgraded at the Mission Package Support Facility (MPSF) for future use aboard any LCS seaframe.
 
Features
Each MP provides unique warfighting capabilities for one of three focused mission areas.

• Mine Countermeasure (MCM) – detection and neutralization of mine threats.
• Surface Warfare (SUW) – maritime security and prosecution of small boat threats.
• Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) – detect, classify, localize and prosecute enemy submarines.

These unique capabilities will be supported by the LCS Mission Package Support Facility (MPSF), located in Naval Base Ventura County, Calif. Due to the LCS seaframe’s flexibility to rapidly switch mission capabilities, the MPSF plays the integral role of primary provider for all seaframe-embarked mission packages. The MPSF will address afloat maintenance issues and provide technical support for the Mission Module Sailors. The MPSF will also have a virtual presence via distance support to provide “round-the-clock” services for all deployed LCS mission modules and will ensure LCS’ ability to reconfigure mission packages according to operational demand.

Mission systems fit inside standard ten- or twenty-foot International Organization for Standardization (ISO) support containers (SCs), or on ISO compliant flat racks and vehicle cradles. Using ISO SCs simplifies shipping, storage, availability of correct handling equipment, and container movement from shore to ship and ship to shore. MP reconfiguration will occur in homeport or overseas, using pre-positioned MPs or MPs that have been transported into theater by air, land, or sea and staged near the LCS operating area.
 
Background
A MP consists of Mission Modules (MMs), mission crew detachments, and support aircraft. A MM combines mission systems (vehicles, sensors, communications and weapon systems), support equipment, Mission Package Computing Environment (MPCE) hardware and software, and Multiple Vehicle Communications System (MVCS) hardware and software, which install into the seaframe via standard interfaces. The MPCE provides the local information technology (IT) infrastructure for MP operations and the required network interfaces to the Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE) on the LCS seaframe. It is the primary interface that enables the mission package to work on the ship. The MPCE is a permanently installed equipment shipset in each seaframe. The hierarchal MP concept is best described in three layers:

• Mission Systems = Vehicles, Sensors, and Weapons
• Mission Module = Mission Systems + Support Equipment
• Mission Package = Mission Modules + Mission Crew Detachments + Aircraft

Mission packages can be swapped in order to reconfigure the ship for a different mission in a short period of time, giving a Combatant Commander a uniquely flexible response to changing warfighting requirements. Package reconfiguration can occur in homeport or overseas, using pre-positioned mission packages or mission packages transported into theater by air or sea and staged near the LCS operating area. To achieve this flexibility, the Navy is developing and procuring mission packages to meet the joint warfighting requirements. The quantity of each mission package type differs based on an analysis of projected operational needs; therefore, mission packages are developed and procured separately from the LCS seaframes. Currently, the Navy plans to procure 52 LCS ships, as well as 16 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) mission packages, 24 Mine Countermeasures (MCM) mission packages, and 24 Surface Warfare (SUW) mission packages. This allows the LCS warfighting capability to quickly adapt to evolving threats using improved technology. This concept also helps to reduce the overall cost of the LCS and will allow a smaller crew who continuously operate and maintain the seaframe and its core systems.
 
Point Of Contact
Office of Corporate Communication (SEA 00D)
Naval Sea Systems Command
Washington, D.C. 20376
 
Last Update: 20 December 2013