New LCAC C4N Suite Completes Critical Design Review

Story Number: NNS141002-07Release Date: 10/2/2014 3:25:00 PM
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From Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Public Affairs

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (NNS) -- The Navy successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) for a new Command, Control, Communications, Computers & Navigation (C4N) suite for landing craft, air cushion (LCAC), Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced Oct. 2.

The LCAC C4N suite, also known as the command module electronics package, is the user interface the crew uses to operate the craft. This new C4N suite, the System Baseline Configuration 4 (SBC4) design, employs a modular open scalable approach (MOSA). This approach will improve sustainability while helping the Navy reduce procurement costs.

"The critical design review is an important milestone," said Senior Software Engineer Lisa Nowalk, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD). "This technical review assessed the system final design and established the initial product baseline for SBC4."

During the CDR, the NSWC PCD team demonstrated an operational prototype based on the MOSA, along with more than 90 percent of the technical data package completed.

The LCAC C4N suite provides a glass cockpit display environment for the craft's three-person crew in the command module. The suite consists of a fly-by-wire craft control system with two fully redundant engineering control system processing units, along with four sensor interface units that provide the signal conditioning and conversion of 190 different sensors and alarms on the craft. It includes a fully-integrated navigation system that integrates with a 25-kilowatt surface search radar system, a primary and secondary GPS system, and an inertial navigation system.

Also included is a display system consisting of six sunlight readable, night vision device compatible liquid crystal displays and a common data recorder used to perform mission plan transfers, as well as recording of real-time navigation, audio and engineering data/actions.

"SBC4 will incorporate MOSA best practices to reduce the complexity of maintenance efforts and increase supportability of components in the baseline," said Robert Holmes, Landing Craft C4N manager within Program Executive Officer Ships Amphibious Warfare Program Office.

During the CDR demonstration, craftmasters and navigators from Assault Craft Units (ACU) 4 & 5 provided recommendations for improving maintainability and supportability. NSWC-PCD also simulated various failure modes to help LCAC crew members assess training impacts.

This next generation configuration, SBC4, will significantly reduce the footprint of the electronics in terms of volume, weight, and power requirements. Also, the transition to front I/O connectors and a box level lowest replaceable unit should allow easier access and significantly reduce the actual time required to perform corrective and preventative maintenance.

In order to address software obsolescence in the C4N suite, the LCAC Software Support Activity is transitioning from embedded Windows XP to Windows 7 for the Windows-based nodes of the system. The C4N software re-host from SBC3 to SBC4 is also leveraging off newer technology in order to reduce the required number of processing units to support the new modular, open-scalable architecture approach.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division conducts research, development, test and evaluation, in-service support of mine warfare systems, mines, naval special warfare systems, diving and life support systems, amphibious/expeditionary maneuver warfare systems, and other missions that occur primarily in coastal (littoral) regions. It is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command.

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Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) 74 assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 approaches the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) for embarkation.
140919-N-KL846-155 ARABIAN GULF (Sept. 19, 2014) Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) 74 assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 approaches the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) for embarkation. Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime and theater security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Lindahl/Released)
September 24, 2014
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