Está en la página 1de 2

Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Surface Warfare (SUW) Testing in the News

DOT&E Response
On Saturday, January 30, 2016, Mr. Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr., published an article in
BreakingDefense.Com titled: LCS Test Vs. Fast Attack Boats Unfair: Missile Missing, Navy
Says. In that article, he references an unnamed Navy official who contended the testing of LCS
Increment II SUW Mission Package was unfair because it didnt take into account the planned
surface-to-surface missiles that will be added to the Mission Package in Increment III.
Regretfully, the Navy spokesman was apparently not familiar with the basis for the test and
many of his statements are incorrect or not related to what was being tested.
Because the mission capability of LCS is being introduced in an incremental manner, the
February 25, 2010, Capability Development Document (CDD) (#805-86-10) for the LCS Flight
0+ identified the need for testing to be tailored to assess those systems that are available.
Based on this, the then Vice Chief of Naval Operations issued a classified memorandum on
February 27, 2013, titled: Littoral Combat Ship Surface Warfare Mission Package Increment II
Performance Clarification for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation. That memorandum
acknowledged the lack of a surface-to-surface missile and established a much lower performance
threshold than what is prescribed in the CDD against which the LCS seaframe coupled with just
one MH-60R and a Gun Mission Module with its two 30mm guns were to be assessed. It also
defined what the Navy considered to be a successful engagement, specifically requiring each
target to be neutralized before any of them closed to within the Navy prescribed minimum standoff range a range selected based on the distance at which threat weapons would have a good
chance of hitting the LCS. In reality, there are several threat weapons that could hit LCS from an
even greater distance, but DOT&E accepted the Navys defined success criteria to assess these
events. Hence, even though the ship was able to eventually repel the simulated attack, this was
after the targets had successfully penetrated the Navys prescribed stand-off range, which did not
meet the Navys success criteria. In a real battle, there would be a good chance LCS might have
sustained damage at that point that could have affected its subsequent capability to successfully
repel the attack. In summary, testing used the Navy-specified scenarios and DOT&E used the
Navy-specified success criteria---both of which are explicitly reduced to account for the absence
of missiles---to assess the results of the SUW tests.
Of note, this operational test was managed by the Navys test organization, not DOT&E.
The test scenario was nearly identical to what the program office used in their developmental
tests six months before the operational test. The same scenario was also used during
developmental and operational tests on the Freedom variant in FY 2013. The Navy did not raise
any objections to the scenario or prescribed success criteria as they planned those developmental
and operational test events. The Navy has deployed two LCSs in this configuration (guns only),
and plans to deploy at least one more in the coming year making these tests results representative
of the ships capability in its current form. The operational tests were therefore the most relevant
to what the LCS is capable of should it be called to battle. When the Longbow Hellfire surfaceto surface missile is finally added to LCSs SUW Mission Package in FY 2017, the ship will be
tested again, although more robustly, and permitted to use all components of the Mission
Package and whatever the Navy prescribed tactics are at the time. However, the outcome of
those tests will be assessed against the higher CDD threshold.
In regard to the identified testing of the Longbow Hellfire missile, this was a series of
early idealized developmental tests not conducted using an actual LCS; they were designed, as

described in the January 25, 2015, LCS SUW Mission Package Test Plan titled: Guided Test
Vehicle 1 Test for the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SUW-14-PLN-161), to prove the
MECS [Missile Exhaust Containment Structure] concept and collect data to support the missile
software development for the LCS SSMM [Surface-to-Surface Mission Module] by engaging
surface targets from the deck of a surrogate platform. The test plan identifies that
modifications are being made to the missile algorithms by the Army to optimize the seeker and
transfer alignment performance for the LCS environment. Hence, this testing was focused on
providing the developer much needed data to understand the missiles flight envelop and
guidance logic to allow them to write the needed software change. The missiles fired were not
representative of the final software configuration that will eventually be employed in tactical
rounds. The developmental test was actually a series of six separate events. Each event was
prescribed and tightly controlled to provide the developers the needed information on specific
points in the flight envelope. Every firing event used perfect targeting information which will
not be available when employed on LCS; furthermore, the targets were controlled in such a
manner that they offered a specific profile to obtain the needed technical information and were
not representative of the realistic dynamic scenarios that will eventually be presented during final
developmental testing and the subsequent operational tests. Finally, the largest raid presented
to the ship in any one scenario was three boats, not eight as suggested in the article. The LCSs
ability to defeat a larger raid of small boats will be examined in a future test, which will be
conducted in an operationally realistic manner. Because of the limited number of tests and the
artificiality with which they had to be conducted to provide the developer the information
needed, these tests cannot be used to predict an eventual operational capability, nor would it be
appropriate to suggest that an LCS was 7 for 8 when no single test with eight targets was
conducted. The operational testing currently planned for FY 2017 will provide the data to
determine the ships full capability in a wartime scenario.