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Mission Package Training Environment Prepared for LCS

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070122-15
Release Date: 1/22/2007 6:17:00 PM

By Dan Broadstreet, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Public Affairs

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (NNS) -- The Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), scheduled for delivery this year, will enjoy a replicated Mission Package Computing Environment (MPCE), a state-of-the-art system which will help Sailors train for real-world tasks aboard the cutting-edge platform.

The system, at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City’s Mission Package Development Lab (MPDL), will also prove crucial for integrating and certification testing of LCS’ mission package command and control computer programs. The replicator will provide training opportunities and systems familiarization for Sailors on the various unmanned underwater, surface, and air vehicle systems aboard the LCS prior to deployment.

The LCS has been built with a modular design, enabling a reconfiguration for three different focused missions. According to Dave Tubridy, the department head at the Panama City facility, the LCS can be reset to handle mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare mission packages within a 24-hour period.

The mission package command and control software which can manage the unmanned systems must be tested and certified in the MPDL before delivery for use aboard the LCS, according to Christmas. Key to the ship’s modularized and reconfigurable design, the LCS sea frames are built to minimize use of unique mission equipment and promote the use of lower cost, commercial, off-the-shelf equipment.

“All three LCS focused (mission packages) will pass through the MPDL on their way to the fleet,” project engineer John Christmas said.

This is where the LCS’s MPCE and common console design proves beneficial, enabling shipboard operators to manage and control the mission systems from any of the common consoles.

“This allows distribution of the workload however it is needed. You also have that one common picture that shows you where all your assets are,” Christmas said.

Christmas said it is important to have all the information available to complete the mission.

“You need to know where they’ve been planned to go, where they are and what potential conflicts exist so you can manage the space. And ideally, you want to have all this information show up on one screen,” Christmas said. “The idea behind the MPDL is to provide a common facility that, short of the ship, best represents both LCS sea frames where the product teams can perform integration and certification testing.”

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