Military


AN/WLD-1
RMS Remote Minehunting System

To sustain operations in the littorals, naval forces must possess an organic capability to assess the extent of the naval mine threat. As part of the advanced forces, surface ships are expected to employ off-board systems to meet the demand for mine reconnaissance of anticipated operating areas. The Remote Mine-hunting System (RMS) was developed to meet these requirements. The RMS was designed to be an organic, off-board system that would be launched, operated, and recovered from a host surface ship and would employ mine reconnaissance sensors. RMS development would follow an evolutionary acquisition process in which contingency systems are delivered to the Fleet as technology matures.

As part of the advanced forces, surface ships would employ RMS to meet the demand for over-the-horizon mine reconnaissance of anticipated operating areas in support of the ship's individual mission and to prepare for the arrival of other naval forces. The RMS sensor suite would be used against bottom and moored mines for mine reconnaissance in deep water to a portion of the very shallow water (VSW) region.

The RMS was developed to provide battle groups and individual surface combatants with an organic means of detecting and avoiding mines. The remotely operated system, using computer aided detection and precise navigation systems, detects and classifies mines and records their locations for avoidance or subsequent removal. The system, with organic handling, control and logistic support, was designed to be air transportable to forces anywhere in the world. The RMS would provide a rapidly deployable mine countermeasures system to surface combatant forces in the absence of deployable mine countermeasures forces.

The RMS program would use a streamlined acquisition approach to develop and field an organic remote minehunting system for surface combatants. This included providing the Fleet with interim capability in the form of contingency systems as the program proceeds through development. The RMS is based upon 4 variants, designated RMS (V)1 through (V)4.

The RMS would perform waterborne mine reconnaissance in anticipated operating areas, including navigation choke points and transit lanes. Mine reconnaissance operations conducted by RMS would determine the presence of mine-like objects and safe routes or operating areas around potential minefields, reducing the overall risk from mines. The system would conduct rapid reconnaissance of bottom and moored mines from the deep water region (greater than 200 feet) to the 30-foot contour of the very shallow water region (40 to 10 feet). The RMS would support the individual mission of the host ship as well as the missions of multi-ship Naval forces.

The RMS would be a high endurance, offboard, low-observable system that would be operated and maintained from surface ships. The system would use acoustic sensors, which are housed in a variable depth underwater body for the detection, classification, and localization of mine-like objects, and would be capable of over-the-horizon operations. Mission data is telemetered between the towing platform and the Mission Command and Display Subsystem (MC&DS) on the host ship via an RF link. The MC&DS provides data processing, display, recording, and mission analysis capabilities and would be deployed in a van either aboard ship or at an improved shore site. The offboard vehicle would have self-contained command/control, propulsion, power, and navigation capabilities, and would also be capable of automatic search and recording modes. The host platform would be equipped to provide data processing, display, recording, and mission analysis capabilities.

The RMS was designed to interface/integrate with existing shipboard systems to communicate tactical mine reconnaissance data to other Naval forces. The RMS would maximize the use of open architectures, using the ship's existing hardware wherever feasible (with the ultimate goal of eliminating the MC&DS), including integration into the AN/SQQ-89. The RMS was designed for a high probability of survival in the minefield by minimizing its signature and providing an obstacle avoidance capability.

Two primary Mine Countermeasure (MCM) acoustic sensors were intended to be used. The first is a side-looking sonar that can detect and classify bottom and close-tethered mines. The second is a volume search sonar to detect and classify primarily close-tethered and in-volume mines. The volume search sonar would have some capability to detect and classify near-surface mines in lower sea states. Gap-filler and forward-looking sonars would supplement the minehunting sonars and provide additional mine detection and avoidance capabilities for the RMS.

Two installation configuration concepts were envisioned for RMS. The first was a modular, self-contained systems capable of being hosted and deployed from several classes of surface ship. To the maximum extent possible, operation and maintenance would be conducted by existing ship¹s force, but a detachment of RMS specialists will support initial training and operation.

The system would be capable of deploying with the host ship or being air transported for rendezvous in theater with the host ship. The modular RMS was to integrate and interoperate with shipboard command and control systems, and would be designed for rapid pierside installation and removal. When not deployed, the RMS was to be stored and maintained at existing, shore-based activities. Under this modular concept, some components of the RMS would be permanently installed and integrated into the host ship.

The second configuration concept was an integral shipboard installation wherein specified present and future ship classes receive the RMS. The design of equipment consoles/racks and major subsystem components would allow full integration into future ship designs and backfit for appropriate, present ship classes. This configuration was intended to maximize usage of common shipboard equipment. Command, control, and communications would be integrated with the ship¹s combat information center, maximizing the use of open architecture. Ship¹s force, stores, and maintenance areas would be used. The RMS was designed so that existing Navy logistic elements could assimilate the system with minimal modification to existing ship¹s personnel, equipment configuration, and logistics support.

The RMS program acquisition strategy called for a streamlined approach, delivering contingency capabilities to the Fleet near-term, en route to the final, fully-supported RMS system. RMS contingency systems were planned for delivery to the fleet beginning in FY99. Completed in August 1994, the Remote Minehunting Operational Prototype (RMOP) represented the first contingency system capability. As a non-developmental initiative within the RMS program, RMOP combined and integrated the AN/AQS-14 minehunting sonar (on a variable depth winch) and the SEABAT forward looking sonar with the DOLPHIN semi-submersible. The Concept Exploration phase for RMS was completed as highlighted by the development of the RMOP and completion of the RMS Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis (COEA). The RMOP was developed during FY94 and successfully demonstrated during Fleet exercise Kernel Blitz in FY95. Additional follow-on developmental contingencies were being advanced to meet mid-term requirements, including improved vehicle performance and integration in Spruance (DD-963)-class destroyers.

As of January 2003, Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems - Undersea Systems was developing the RMS under a contract awarded by the Navy in December 1999. The RMS components included a remote minehunting vehicle, a semi-submersible, diesel-powered vehicle that tows the AN/AQS-20A (which replaced the AN/AQS-14) minehunting sonar, a mission control and display which integrated the RMS into the AN/SOQ-89 undersea warfare system, and a launch and recovery system.

The RMS program exercised a series of developmental prototypes in a Fleet environment en route to a final, fully supported operational system. Completed in August 1994, the RMS (V)1 combined and integrated a semi-submersible vehicle, the AN/AQS-14 Minehunting sonar (on a variable depth winch), and the SeaBat forward-looking sonar. The RMS (V)1 variant was launched pier side and operated from USS John Young (DD973) during Kernel Blitz '95. Completed in December 1996, the RMS (V)2 added a DD963 Class compatible launch and recovery system and an interface to the ship's AN/SQQ-89 Undersea Warfare Combat System. The RMS (V)2 variant was installed and deployed on the USS Cushing (DD985) with the Kitty Hawk Battle Group to the Persian Gulf and participated in SHAREM 119. The next variant, RMS (V)3, included a new vehicle developed to meet full operational requirements, and was exercised in a Fleet environment. The final RMS variant, AN/WLD-1(V)1, was expected to be the system introduced to the Fleet and would be capable of beyond line-of-sight operations. It would reflect lessons learned from the early variants, fully meet the system's Operational Requirements, and include an Electro-Optic sensor to positively identify mines detected by the system's sonars.

The RMS was being designed for installation aboard Arleigh Burke-class, Flight IIA destroyers. The AN/WLD-1(V)1 was installed first on DDG 91 USS Pinckney (which was commissioned 29 May 2004) and then on the following later Arleigh Burke Class hulls. It was fully integrated into the ship's AN/SQQ-89(V)15 Undersea Warfare Combat System and included a launch and recovery system integral to the ship. Other surface ships that were being considered as host platforms for AN/WLD-1(V)1 were the HSV-X2, which was be an interim replacement for an MCM Command ship and the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The LCS was part of the DD(X) "Family of Ships." The platform would support a wide range of joint missions, with reconfigurable mission modules, to assure access to the littorals for our Navy forces in the face of threats from surface craft, submarines, and mines. In accomplishing its missions, LCS will rely heavily on the use of unmanned vehicles.

On 17 December 1999 Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, Syracuse, New York, was awarded a $77,964,254 modification to previously awarded contract N00024-96-C-6322 for the development of the AN/WLD-1(V)1 Remote Minehunting System (RMS). Work was to be performed in Syracuse, New York (48%), Riviera Beach, Florida (30%), Portsmouth, Rhode Island (13%), Greenlawn, New York (4%), Rochester, New York (2.5%), and Iron Mountain, Michigan (2.5%), and was expected to be completed by December 2001.




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