Littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) began initial operational test and evaluation of the surface-to-surface missile module (SSMM) on November 17, the US Navy has announced.
According to the navy, the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) started two months ahead of schedule.
The SSMM is the newest addition to the Littoral Combat Ship Surface Warfare Mission Package, designed to counter potential swarms of attacking armed small craft.
The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants accelerated the package’s operational testing following successful developmental and integrated testing off the coast of Virginia from July through November.
The test and evaluation plan involves two fast inshore attack craft raid events that utilize the SSMM and Gun Mission Module (GMM), consisting of two 30mm guns, and 57mm weapons systems. IOT&E completion is planned for early 2019.
The test and evaluation regime is the next step toward declaring Initial Operational Capability and fielding the SSMM with the Surface Warfare Mission Package.
Included in the SSMM, are 24 Longbow Hellfire missiles, Gun Mission Module (GMM), Maritime Security Module, containing two 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boats, and the Aviation Mission Module, including an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and a Vertical Take-Off Unmanned Air Vehicle, and was designed to complement the ship’s organic weaponry to counter small-boat swarming threats and provide a visit, board, search and seizure capability.
The Gun Mission Module, Maritime Security Module, and Aviation Mission Module all achieved initial operational capability in November 2014 and have embarked on multiple deployments on both Freedom and Independence LCS variants, providing much-needed visit, board, search, and seizure and small boat defense capabilities in the dynamic and congested sea lanes, straits and archipelagos of South and Southeast Asia.