Northrop Grumman designs mission packages for Littoral Combat Ship

BETHPAGE, N.Y., 12 Jan. 2006. The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $159 million contract to integrate mission packages and evaluate future mission systems technologies for the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

BETHPAGE, N.Y., 12 Jan. 2006. The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $159 million contract to integrate mission packages and evaluate future mission systems technologies for the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

As the Mission Package Integrator (LCS MPI), Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector's Bethpage, N.Y. organization will lead this effort. The Fiscal Year 2006 portion of the cost plus award fee/award term contract is approximately $4.5 million.

The LCS will be a networked, stealthy, surface combatant with capabilities optimized for responsiveness to threats in coastal regions. It will be the first ship designed with the Navy's FORCEnet warfighting architecture as a requirement.

Initially, the Littoral Combat Ship will have three missions -- mine warfare, antisubmarine warfare, and antisurface warfare -- and a number of secondary missions.

Each of the mission packages involves the integration of manned and unmanned systems operating across air, surface and subsurface domains. The mission package design will require that each capability set be modular in order to re-configure the Littoral Combat Ships relevant to the spectrum of conflict.

Under this new contract, Northrop Grumman will apply its decades of naval battle management and command-and-control experience and understanding of open architecture systems to link the various mission modules on the ship with each other and with the ship's combat system.

"Since the LCS design will make about 40 percent of payload volume reconfigurable, the Navy is putting a tremendous amount of responsibility on the mission package integrator," said David Stafford, vice president and Integrated Product Team leader of Maritime Systems Integration for Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems.

"We're up to the challenge because we've proven we can meet that mission by our decades of successful systems integration work, most recently on the Improved Capability III airborne electronic attack program and the Advanced Hawkeye aircraft."

"The Littoral Combat Ship is designed to exploit modularity while striving for mission wholeness," he said. "As the integrator, our mission will be to make the ship a seamless component of the Navy's netted and distributed war fighting architecture. We believe that the Navy's modular concept will become the pathfinder program for modernity for the industry. Northrop Grumman will work in partnership with our customer and teammates to ensure that the Navy's vision is achieved."

"We have two key responsibilities," says Marc DeBlasio, manager and Integrated Product Team lead for LCS MPI programs at Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems. "The first will be to baseline the initial configurations of the mission packages, a step called 'Spiral Alpha.' We will then work with our Navy partners to determine what technologies can be inserted in the subsequent upgrade steps, called Spiral Bravo, Charlie, etc., in order to enhance mission effectiveness."

System design and development work will be performed in Bethpage and Washington D.C., as well as at the LCS sites. At the program's peak, approximately 90 people will be working with the LCS team on the program in various sites throughout the country.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise with the capabilities to design, develop, produce, and support fully missionized integrated systems and subsystems. Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products, and services in support of chosen segments within the broad market areas of battlespace awareness, command and control systems, and integrated combat systems. For more information, see www.northropgrumman.com.

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