Warship Technology: May 2020
A joint enterprise between the Program Executive Officer Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) and the Program Executive Officer Unmanned and Small Combatants in the Naval Sea Systems Command, the LCS modernisation effort is designed to upgrade capabilities consistent with the navy’s Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) concept. DMO is designed to enable localised sea control to generate larger combat effects through increasing the offensive power of individual components of the naval force.
The LCS was conceived as a fast, agile focused-mission platform optimised for operations in near-shore environments where it would be impractical or undesirable to employ larger, deeper-draft, multi-mission ships. The original focused-mission concept was predicated on the deployment of a modular mission package so as to enable the host ‘sea frame’ to execute a single mission – either anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare or mine countermeasures.
However, changes in operating patterns, warfare doctrine and threats have seen the US Navy re-evaluate the capabilities required of its Small Surface Combatant force.
As a result, a series of combat system modifications, under the umbrella of the Lethality and Survivability (L&S) modernisation effort, will be introduced for both LCS variants.
These upgrades include the development of a common Combat Management System (CMS), and the integration and testing of government furnished systems including the Gun Weapon System (GWS), Electronic Warfare (EW) system and Decoy Launching System (DLS) for both LCS class variants. In addition, radar and IFF improvements are being embodied, and a new Over the Horizon Weapon System (OTH WS) is being introduced to improve the striking power of the LCS ships.