Posted by John McHaleBETHPAGE, N.Y., 6 Nov. 2010. The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC) a $29 million contract to put Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mission Packages into production. The company will deliver three mission module packages -- one for mine countermeasures and two for surface warfare missions -- under this contract. Each mission package is a unique group of modules, or subsystems. The mine countermeasures package, for example, comprises a range of mine hunting systems, such as the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System, the Remote Minehunting System and the Fire Scout vertical takeoff unmanned air vehicle (UAV). These are packaged in standard ISO shipping containers. The premise of the Littoral Combat Ship and its mission packages is that, as situations around the world arise, a ship can be rapidly adapted to its new assignment, Northrop Grumman officials say. Should a new mission be tasked, the ship can proceed to the port where mission packages are staged, off load its current package and replace it with the appropriate one in just a few days.The production site will be announced in the near future. Delivery of the first surface warfare package is scheduled for early 2012; the other two packages will be delivered later that year. The Navy will accept the completed packages at its Mission Package Support Facility in Port Hueneme, Calif."The Navy set high standards of performance for us as their Mission Package Integrator, and we met or exceeded their standards and milestones," says Dan Chang, vice president, Northrop Grumman Maritime and Tactical Systems. "I have no doubt it was our performance that gave the Navy confidence that we'd perform as well on the production contract."The current, initial mission packages were designed by the Navy's Warfare Centers in Panama City, Fla., Dahlgren, Va., and San Diego, where they were also built. Northrop Grumman has been the Naval Sea Systems Command's mission package integrator, now responsible for ensuring that all mission package designs were made ready for production."The Navy's concept of mission modularity, that is, making one LCS capable of meeting many different missions, combines flexibility to respond to diverse threats with long-term cost savings," says Marc DeBlasio, Northrop Grumman's Mission Package Integrator program director. "Mission modularity addresses the demand on the military to reduce cost. Mission package-capable ships minimize the number of different ships -- and their logistics and crew requirements -- needed by the Navy to meet their diverse, worldwide commitments."It is expected that, over time, packages for other missions will be designed and produced.