July 25, 2019 – The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mission Modules (MM) program will begin developmental testing on an Independence-variant LCS, believed to be USS Gabby Giffords, in August, following a successful structural test firing of the ship’s Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) on the Point Mugu Sea Range on June 11.
The test firing was the first ever aboard the Independence variant and the first in a series of test events that will assess the SSMM capability on the variant. SSMM testing on the Freedom variant was successfully completed earlier 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,” said 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.