The U.S. Navy carried out the first ever structural test firing of the Surface to Surface Missile Module (SSMM) from littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Detroit (LCS 7), Naval Sea Systems Command announced on Tuesday.
The test took place on February 28 off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, and marked the first launch of a missile from the SSMM from an LCS as well as the first vertical missile launched from an LCS, as part of the developmental test program for the Surface Warfare (SUW) Mission Package (MP).
SSMM utilizes the Army Longbow Hellfire Missile in a vertical launch capability to counter small boat threats.
Lockheed Martin-produced AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missiles are the next capability for the surface warfare mission package for the LCS. SSMM achieved initial operational capability (IOC) in November 2014 with delivery of the Gun Mission Module (two 30mm guns) and the Maritime Security Module (11m Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat for Visit Boarding Search and Seizure).
“The testing aboard USS Detroit was an important milestone in advancing LCS capability, not only for the LCS community but for the entire fleet. As small boat threats proliferate, the SSMM will give our ships added lethality,” said Cmdr. Michael Desmond, Detroit’s commanding officer.
A structural test fire is required every time when new or different ordnance systems are first installed on board Navy warships. Specifically, STF verifies that the ship’s structure and equipment as well as the interfaces between ordnance and the ship are capable of withstanding the vibration, shock, noise, gases and other blast derivatives from ordnance firing.
The U.S. Navy said the surface warfare mission package would begin developmental testing aboard USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) later this year and will culminate in operational testing and IOC in 2018.