Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) held a media forum Wednesday to educate reporters about Human Systems Integration (HSI) Directorate and the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mission Modules program and how their efforts impact the optimal manning and operational capability of the Navy’s newest surface combat ship.
“The U.S. Navy is undergoing an unprecedented shift in how it designs and builds its ships and systems, reflecting an even greater commitment to its Sailors at sea,” said Greg Maxwell, NAVSEA Deputy Commander for Human Systems Integration. “This new performance-based, Sailor-focused approach is rooted in the proven engineering principles of Human Systems Integration and will be realized with the latest distance support technology.”
The LCS will be commissioned next year and will be the first surface ship entering the fleet with this HSI/Human Performance focus. This “total systems engineering” process (hardware, software and people) makes ships more humanly efficient. Sound HSI engineering will ensure that ships are more sailor friendly and require less crew to operate them.
HSI provides the means to reduce workload and manpower requirements based on well-defined skills and human performance metrics, which will lead to better defined training requirements and solutions. In short it is a process that enables measurement, testing, and certification of human performance and ensures each Sailor can perform his or her tasks effectively.
In the past, weapons systems were developed and manning requirements were often determined later. HSI puts Sailors at the forefront of the systems engineering process --viewing the human element as an integral part of the total system. It is the combination of hardware, people and software to achieve total system performance. This process will maximize warfighting performance and optimize manning on ships.
The LCS also incorporates a new innovative design using modular interchangeable mission modules allowing the ship to be rapidly reconfigured to accomplish different missions. An LCS ship can be re-configured and change out mission modules in as little as one day at a commercial port. The mission modules, resembling standard 20’ commercial containers, fit into predetermined spaces on the LCS. These containers hold vehicles, equipment and the command and control systems to operate the various sensors and weapon systems. The LCS will use MH-60 helicopters and be the first Navy ship to use the small, unmanned, remote controlled RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle (VTUAV).
The LCS mission modules are focused on three key missions: mine warfare
, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare. The mission module packages utilize a host of unmanned air, surface and undersea vehicle to act as sensors or in some cases, to launch weapons systems at a target. This allows the LCS to engage enemy targets at standoff distances, out of range from enemy weapons.
“Modularity is the future of surface warfare. It is the enabler for deploying ships that are specifically tailored to the mission, threat and operating environment,” said Captain Walt Wright, Program Manager for Littoral Combat Ship Mission Module Program. “Moreover, it avoids tying up a ship to the pier for extended periods of time while conducting maintenance and technology upgrades.”