The US Navy has conducted a successful structural test firing of the surface-to-surface missile module (SSMM) aboard the Freedom-class littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Detroit (LCS 7) off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia.
The missile test marked the first launch of a missile from the SSMM on board an LCS, in addition to the first vertical missile launched from an LCS as part of the developmental test programme for the surface warfare (SUW) mission package (MP).
USS Detroit commanding officer commander Michael Desmond said: “The testing aboard USS Detroit was an important milestone in advancing LCS capability, not only for the LCS community but for the entire fleet.
“As small boat threats proliferate, the SSMM will give our ships added lethality.”
The US Navy SSMM uses the US Army’s Longbow Hellfire missile in a vertical launch capability to target threats such as small boats.
SSMM is the next delivery of capability for the LCS SUW MP, which attained initial operational capability (IOC) in November 2014 with the installation of the gun mission module, which involves two 30mm guns, and the maritime security module involving 11m rigid hull inflatable boat for visit boarding search and seizure.
Mission Modules programme manager captain Ted Zobel said: “This was another positive step forward in the fielding of the next increment for the SUW MP.
“The SSMM is a critical piece of the SUW MP, and this event will allow us to move safely into developmental testing and soon to fielding this capability aboard LCS.”
Developmental testing of the SUW MP will commence aboard the US Navy’s Freedom-class USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) later this year, and is set to conclude with operational testing and IOC in 2018.
Image: Longbow hellfire missile fired from USS Detroit (LCS 7). Photo: courtesy of US Navy.