Following this successful first “structural test firing”, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mission Modules (MM) program will begin developmental testing on an Independence-variant LCS in August.
SSMM testing on the Freedom-class LCS was successfully completed earlier this year. According to our USNI News, the missile will go out on a ship deployment later this year
The SSMM is one of four modules comprising the LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package. Using Army Longbow Hellfire missiles in a vertical launch capability to counter small boat threats, SSMM increases both the range and the number of targets LCS can engage.
“SSMM is tested and well proven on the LCS Freedom variant. This structural test firing marks the first critical step in demonstrating the SSMM capability on the LCS Independence variant”
Capt. Godfrey Weekes, LCS Mission Modules program manager.
Structural test firing is a total-ship test involving live weapons fire and is required for each ship class or variant. The exercise also prepares the ship and trains the crews for more complex surface warfare tracking and live-fire exercises scheduled to begin later this summer, which will culminate in initial operational test and evaluation at the end of 2019.
The Surface Warfare Mission Package also includes the Gun Mission Module, containing 30mm guns; the Maritime Security Module, with 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats; and the Aviation Mission Module, including an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and a Vertical Take-off Unmanned Air Vehicle.
Independence-class LCS with NSM
In related (Independence-class / missile) news, it appears that the U.S. Navy started integration tests with the new Naval Strike Missile (NSM). US Navy photos taken July 10, 2019 show the Independence-class LCS USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) fitted with what is are highly likely Kongsberg’s NSMs.
The level of integration remains a question however (seeing the dark cable running from the launchers to the bridge in the above picture).
In June 2018, the U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon (Kongsberg’s US partner) a $14.86 million contract to manufacture and deliver NSM as the Navy’s new over-the-horizon anti-ship missile for littoral combat ships and future frigates.