The US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mission Modules (MM) programme has successfully completed the at-sea testing of the AN/SLQ-61 lightweight tow (LWT) Torpedo Defense Mission Module (TDMM).
A series of tests were conducted over a two-day period as part of the initiative, which marked the final at-sea trial of the LWT TDMM on-board a commercial vessel.
The LCS MM programme has been primarily designed to prepare the US Navy for the integration of the TDMM, as well as formal developmental and operational testing on-board an LCS.
The TDMM is intended to provide a torpedo defence capability that could be eventually deployed on-board all US Navy LCS units, as well as other small combatant vessels in future.
LCS Mission Modules programme manager US Navy captain Theodore Zobel said: “This test was highly successful and demonstrated that this technology, which provides critical torpedo defence capability for the LCS class of ships, is ready for integration aboard an LCS.”
The AN/SLQ-61 LWT is a modular, digitally controlled, soft kill countermeasure decoy solution, which is similar to the AN/SLQ-25 Nixie system that is currently integrated on-board the navy fleet.
The LWT employs an underwater acoustic projector, which is deployed from the vessel’s stern on a tow cable in order to defend the navy ships against ‘wake-homing, acoustic homing and wire-guided enemy torpedoes’.
It is significantly lighter than the current Nixie system and features a revised tow profile that makes it suitable for use on-board small combatant warships operating in littoral environments.