The Lockheed Martin-led Littoral Combat Ship team is continuing the development of its semi-planing seaframe design through a new series of tank tests that will prove the efficacy of several significant design improvements. The scaled hull model test program underway at the Naval Surface Warfare Center
, Carderock Division in Bethesda, MD, will validate the improvements in the resistance, stability and sea keeping characteristics of the team's design.
Working closely with naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and core team member Fincantieri, the Lockheed Martin team will optimize the LCS hull design that has already proven its capabilities in high-speed commercial service and in other technology demonstrations. Key attributes of the design include low cost, low risk, high speed, shallow draft, maneuverability and a capacity to accommodate the full range of focused mission packages to defeat enemy mines, swarming small boats, diesel-electric submarines and other shallow-water threats.
"The hull tests represent a significant milestone that will confirm performance predictions for our semi-planing seaframe," said Carol Hulgus, vice president of programs for Lockheed Martin's Maritime Systems & Sensors business. "Not only will the hull form deliver all the necessary speed, sea keeping and other performance characteristics for the LCS mission, but it also provides ample volume and flexibility to incorporate future focused mission packages."
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the team, with naval architect Gibbs & Cox and ship builders Bollinger Shipyards and Marinette Marine sharing significant roles as principal team members. Lockheed Martin also has responsibilities as the systems and modularity architect, and leads the overall program management and cost analysis work.
"We are also fortunate to have Fincantieri as one of the international partners on our team. They have significant experience in these types of platforms having engineered and built both the record setting ship `Destriero' and larger fast ferries that incorporate technologies similar to those we are using for LCS," said Hulgus. "Having our basic hull form already in service, with our LCS design scaled between Destriero and the Jupiter class ferries, provides a proven baseline for our low risk, low cost approach."
Fincantieri is a large, diversified shipbuilding group, headquartered in Trieste, Italy. Its eight shipyards have produced more than 7,000 vessels over its 200-year history. The company is active in cruise, merchant, and naval shipbuilding.
The Lockheed Martin team was awarded a $10 million contract by the U.S. Navy in July for LCS preliminary design. The Navy considers LCS its most transformational effort, number one budget priority and a key element of its Sea Power 21 strategic vision. The ship's mission is to provide the ability to dominate the shallow waters surrounding an enemy's shores - one of the greatest challenges facing the Navy.