Northrop Grumman Supports First LCS Mission Package Delivery

Thursday, September 13, 2007
Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command, along with members of the government-contractor team, will celebrate the delivery of the first mission package for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) at ceremonies tomorrow in Panama City, Fla. This first package is for the mine warfare mission, and is one of the three initial warfare packages being developed for the LCS.

Mission packages allow the LCS the flexibility to support three mission areas -- mine, warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare. Everything needed for a specific mission -- from weapons to sensor systems to control centers to air vehicles to spares -- is containerized and ready for installation and activation aboard any LCS. This modular approach allows an LCS to pull into port, swap out mission packages and redeploy with a combat system that is tailored for the mission at hand and fully integrated into the Navy's battle management grid.

Northrop Grumman's LCS Mission Package Integrator (MPI) team is working with the Navy Laboratories to deliver the first anti-submarine and surface warfare packages in 2008 and 2009. Dr. Delores M. Etter, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, will lead the Navy delegation for the event. Scott Seymour, corporate vice president and sector president of Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector, will be the senior company official at the ceremony.

Northrop Grumman is the Navy's LCS MPI, responsible for delivering high performance, modular, fully integrated weapons packages. The company's LCS MPI team supports the Navy laboratories that are developing and delivering the first several prototypes. Northrop Grumman ensures that the mission package components, selected by the Navy and produced by companies across the nation, work together as a "plug-and-fight" package. The company also ensures that the components are integrated seamlessly with the systems within each LCS and with the greater Navy network in which the LCS functions. A mission package integrates specialized manned and unmanned systems that must operate in a combination of air, surface, and subsurface domains. They comprise warfighting capabilities (e.g. mine hunting systems, maritime security systems) along with ISO transportation containers, mission package support equipment, multi-vehicle control systems, the mission computing environment, and the operators. All mission packages will have at least one Fire Scout unmanned vehicle, a Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems product. The mission package components are housed within a set of standard ISO containers called Twenty Equivalent Units (TEU) -- boxes 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall. There are nine TEUs in the mine countermeasures package. The ISO standardization ensures compatible, worldwide inter-modal transportation capability that allows containers to be shipped to staging areas around the world. The mission packages are developed by the Navy's Mission Modules program office (PMS 420), part of the Program Executive Office - Littoral Mine Warfare. Another part of that office, the Navy's Mine Warfare program office (PMS 495), provides mine warfare systems and modules including the AN/WLD-1 Remote Minehunting System; the AN/AQS-20A Sonar Mine Detecting Set; and the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS), among other systems.

ALMDS, which was developed Northrop Grumman, is one of its newest mine warfare components. ALMDS is helicopter-mounted and deployed forward of the fleet to survey the ocean for potential mine threats. The ALMDS Light Detection and Ranging Sensor pod can be easily moved from its mission package container and attached to the port side of an MH-60S helicopter. The sensor's laser provides wide-area coverage for the detection and localization of near-surface and moored mines in the littoral region. In flight, the laser makes a wide-swath sweep (like a push broom) through the water, collecting 3-D imagery of the water volume. Future mission packages will include Northrop Grumman's Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS) and Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system.

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