The DD(X) system design team led by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC)
has executed a major risk reduction test on its peripheral vertical launching system (PVLS) magazine within three months after work began on the contract.
DD(X) is the U.S. Navy's Future Surface Combatant program for
research, development and testing of transformational technologies for
a "family" of surface warships, including the next-generation
destroyer, DD(X). Specific technologies or engineering development
models being developed for DD(X) include an advanced gun system, radar
suite, integrated power system, vertical launch system and signature
management/reduction, as well as optimal manning with emphasis on
reduced crew size, high quality of life and minimal total ownership
The PVLS test article is a full-scale assembly that was fabricated at Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems' facility in Pascagoula, Miss. Once built, the article was transported to a facility in Aberdeen, Md., to be staged, instrumented and loaded with representative ordnance.
Ship Systems proposed a PVLS alternative to the traditional VLS configuration of centralized missile magazines. The DD(X) team's launcher concept consists of a PVLS that distributes the missile launchers in separate four-cell launcher compartments along the ship's hull starting at the forward gun and ending just aft of midships. The
PVLS launcher configuration was chosen due to the significant
enhancement in ship survivability.
The four-cell missile launcher housed in the PVLS launcher compartment is called the advanced vertical launching system (AVLS).
The AVLS is the actual mechanical and electrical subsystem associated
with storing and launching missiles, while the PVLS is the shipboard
launcher compartment in which the AVLS is installed. This successful
test marks the first major milestone in the DD(X) PVLS development
Preparations for the Aberdeen test included design and
construction of a fixture that simulated the ship's external structure.
The PVLS test helped validate Northrop Grumman's proposed magazine
protection system concept and provided valuable data that will be used
to optimize the magazine and overall ship design.
The successful completion of this PVLS test represents a
significant milestone in confirming the transformational DD(X) design.
The magazine protection system is configured to relieve pressure from
exploding ordnance, while forcing blast damage away from the ship and
maximizing crew protection.
Northrop Grumman's major teammates for the DD(X) program
consist of Raytheon Company (RTN)
, General Dynamics (GD)
' Bath Iron Works, United
Defense and four other Northrop Grumman sectors: Newport News,
Information Technology, Electronic Systems and Integrated Systems.
Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector includes primary operations in
Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; New Orleans and Tallulah, La.; and in a
network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. The sector,
which currently employs more than 18,000 shipbuilding professionals,
primarily in Mississippi and Louisiana, is one of the nation's leading
full service systems companies for the design, engineering,
construction, and life cycle support of major surface ships for the
U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for
commercial vessels of all types.