Program Executive Office for Littoral Combat
Ships (PEO LCS) successfully completed a restrained firing test of the Longbow
Hellfire missile for the LCS Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM), the Navy
announced Oct. 6.
The Longbow Hellfire missile has been undergoing
developmental testing for incorporation into the SSMM, part of the LCS Surface
Warfare Mission Package.
A major milestone demonstrating the SSMM missile launch
module's ability to withstand heat and fire in the event of an unplanned rocket
motor ignition was achieved at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren
Division's Explosive Experimental Area. Prior to integrating and testing the
Longbow Hellfire missile on board an LCS, a series of tests must be
accomplished to prove the safety of the system.
During the test of the Missile Exhaust Containment
Structure (MECS), a test designed to duct missile exhaust and fire through
plenum exhaust chambers in the top of the SSMM module, one live Longbow
Hellfire missile with inert warhead and nonfunctional guidance section was
fired but restrained in the launcher. As the missile's rocket motor burned,
exhaust and flames ducted properly through the MECS plenums.
"This critical test concludes another vital step in
a series of efforts that will lead to the fielding of this tremendous
capability to LCS and to the fleet," said Capt. Ted Zobel, program manager
for the LCS Mission Module Program.
The test verified that the MECS could prevent ignition
exhaust fire from escaping into other missile modules. Three mass-simulated
Longbow Hellfire missiles and eight mass-simulated missiles with inert rocket
motors were situated with the live missile to help evaluate the MECS's
The Navy is planning to deploy the Longbow Hellfire
missile capability on board an LCS by December 2017. Structural test firing from
an LCS is scheduled to occur by March 2017.