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NAVSEA Newswire - October 2010

OCT07-02: NSWC Port Hueneme Provides Test Site, Expertise for New Missile Canister
From: NSWC Port Hueneme Command Communications


PORT HUENEME, Calif. ─ A new, lightweight Vertical Launching System (VLS) canister designed to house the future Block IIA Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) completed thermal model testing on the Self Defense Test Ship located at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Port Hueneme, Sept. 30..


The test event, conducted by NSWC Port Hueneme and a government contractor, was in support of the development of the SM-3 Block IIA, a cooperative development program with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force with sponsorship from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.


"This event was conducted to measure and record the thermal response of an encanistered missile assembly loaded into a MK 41 VLS when subjected to an environment typical of normal ship operation," said Regina Powell, NSWC Port Hueneme electronics engineer. "The test ship provides a full MK 41 Vertical Launching System in a realistic marine environment, which was ideal for this event."


The canister and missile used were the MK 29 Mod 0 Prototype P1 canister and SM-3 Blk IIA engineering unit inert missile. VLS canisters are designed to protect missiles during handling, storage and transportation and to serve as a launch tube during missile launch from a ship. The MK 29 canister design is a departure from previous VLS canister designs, using mostly composite materials to reduce weight.


NSWC Port Hueneme engineers took the lead in coordinating the event requirements and schedule. NSWC Port Hueneme personnel also prepared the Self Defense Test Ship for testing, reviewed test planning documentation, provided seven other VLS canisters for the test event and conducted the onload and offload of the eight VLS canisters to and from the test ship.


"While events such as this have specific test objectives, they also provide opportunities to learn other lessons as well," said Al Wellesley, NSWC Port Hueneme systems engineer. "For example, during this event NSWC Port Hueneme’s experienced personnel were able to demonstrate the shipboard onload and offload processes for this new [system], including the interface and operation with the ordnance handling equipment used throughout the fleet."


Testing weapon system and missile capabilities allows NSWC Port Hueneme, a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, to verify future technologies that maximize warfighter capabilities and increase readiness, which supports the nation's maritime strategy.