WASHINGTON - Members of Program Executive Office (PEO) Littoral Combat Ships' (LCS) Mine Warfare Program Office received the Secretary of the Navy's Safety Excellence Award for their achievements as part of the Airborne Mine Neutralization System - Archerfish (AMNS-AF) safety team, in a ceremony at the Pentagon Aug. 1.
Established to ensure overall safety of the MH-60S helicopter-borne AN/ASQ-235 mine neutralization system, the AMNS-AF safety team completed critical qualification and performance test events in 2015 in support of the LCS Mine Countermeasure (MCM) Mission Package's Initial Operating Capability (IOC) achievement.
"The Archerfish Airborne Mine Neutralization System forms an integral part of the LCS Mine Countermeasures Mission Package. Not only does it remove Sailors from the minefield, but it also speeds up the mine neutralization process," said Melissa Kirkendall, program manager for Mine Warfare Programs (PMS 495). "Since the Archerfish uses explosive destructors to neutralize mines, shipboard and aviation safety were absolutely critical to a deployable capability."
Designed to reacquire and identify moored and bottom sea mines and neutralize them, AMNS has become the Navy's standard for organic airborne mine clearance. It is a system that takes divers and explosive ordnance disposal teams out of the minefield.
Led by assistant program manager Tracey Williams, the AMNS-AF systems safety team demonstrated success by identifying safety hazards and mitigating or eliminating those hazards throughout the program's lifecycle, which included improvements to hardware safety, software and firmware safety, explosive safety, human-systems integration safety, prevention of inadvertent launch, and ordnance-handling safety.
Several innovative and original design decisions were implemented to ensure that safety was embedded into the overall system, including:
- Multiple Safety Interlocks - The AMNS-AF safety interlocks have been implemented and tested with the safety of the system, operators, and integration platforms in mind.
- Safe and Arm System - Through teamwork and cooperation, the third tier supplier (e2v technologies) was included in the safety review boards, ensuring that Subject Matter Expert (SME) input was considered.
- Insensitive Munition (IM) Shield - Working with the SMEs, a shield was introduced into the container design to lower the reaction experienced during an IM event.
Along with complex integration of Archerfish on board the MH-60S Multi-Mission Helicopter, as well as within the LCS MCM mission package, the team worked with engineering and test and evaluation teams to ensure successful electrostatic, shock, and environmental certifications and incident-free completion of the mission package's technical evaluation.
LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, with three types of mission packages including Surface Warfare, Mine Countermeasures, and Anti-Submarine Warfare. Program Executive Office for Littoral Combat Ships (PEO LCS) is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the nation's maritime strategy.