Minehunting System Completes Reliability Growth Program
Remote system ready for U.S. Navy operational evaluation on Littoral Combat Ship
A $10,000 mine can destroy a $2 billion vessel.
Sea-mines are an inexpensive, asymmetric weapon available to terrorists, rogue nations and any adversarial navy. The U.S. Navy is turning to Lockheed Martin to develop a better way of finding mines.
The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) will rely on its Remote Minehunting System (RMS) to track these undersea threats found in harsh, murky, saltwater environments. As part of the LCS Mine Countermeasures Mission Package, the Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle (RMMV) is an unmanned, semi-autonomous vehicle that tows a variable depth, advanced sensor that can detect and identify undersea threats at a safe distance from friendly ships. RMS searches for mines faster and more efficiently than legacy minehunting systems. Once RMMV has located and identified a mine, the Navy is able to then go back and neutralize or destroy the mine, making the water space safe for vessels.
In June, the RMMV successfully completed 850 at-sea mission hours of validation testing, completing the RMS Reliability Growth Program and bringing the RMMV closer to doing the minehunting and keeping sailors and ships out of harm’s way.
“Today when you want to go into a minefield, you take a wooden ship in there with people on there,” Capt. John Ailes, Mission Modules program manager, Littoral Combat Ship, recently told Military.com in an interview about U.S. Navy unmanned systems. “RMMV allows us to take the ships out of the minefield. Now we can send unmanned systems into the minefield.”
In May, the Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to integrate the RMS into the LCS Mine Countermeasures Mission Package, which will go on both Lockheed Martin’s Freedom class and Austal’s Independence class LCS platforms.
Under this contract, Lockheed Martin will upgrade existing RMMVs with improvements made under the Reliability Growth Program, and also integrate the Multi-Vehicle Communications System (MVCS), developed by Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, into the RMMV. MVCS provides the capability for an LCS to control multiple unmanned vehicle missions simultaneously, increasing the minehunting capacity of the LCS.
Posted on June 24, 2013