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USS Fort Worth (LCS 3)

The US Naval Sea Systems Command has successfully completed the second phase of littoral combat dhip (LCS) surface warfare mission package developmental testing.

During the testing, conducted by the US Navy’s Freedom-class variant LCS USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Point Mugu range off the coast of California, US, the surface warfare package demonstrated the performance capabilities for surface warfare missions.

The trails also validated recent upgrades and correct problems found in previous testing while the ship and mission package operated as expected.

The LCS Program Executive Office mission module integration programme manager, Captain John Ailes said the at-sea test milestone demonstrates that the LCS surface warfare package meets its requirements.

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"It also shows the significant progress that the mission modules programme has made toward providing an affordable surface warfare capability," Ailes said.

"It shows the significant progress that the mission modules programme has made toward providing an affordable surface warfare capability."

In addition to demonstrating the ship’s ability to detect, track and simulate engagement of air and surface threats, the live-fire event validated the capability of the ship to defend itself against several attacking speed boats.

The Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, which will be the final step in achieving initial operational capability, for the surface warfare mission package will be carried out in early 2014.

Designed to defeat small boat threats, the surface warfare mission package enables the ships to conduct maritime interdiction operations.

The package comprises two 30mm guns, two 11m rigid hull inflatable boats, an MH-60R helicopter, a 19-person surface warfare detachment and a 23-person aviation detachment.

Image: USS Forth Worth underway at Lake Michigan. Photo: courtesy of Mike Rote.

Defence Technology