Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Littoral Ship’s Mine-Clearing Equipment Flawed, U.S. Tester Says - Bloomberg

Littoral Ship’s Mine-Clearing Equipment Flawed, U.S. Tester Says - Bloomberg: Mine-detection equipment for the U.S.Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, including an underwater drone,remains unreliable, the Pentagon’s test office has found.

“Mission modules” to find and clear mines for the initial32 vessels have “not yet demonstrated sufficient performance toachieve the Navy’s minimal” requirements, Michael Gilmore, theDefense Department’s director of operational testing, said inhis annual report to Congress on major weapons systems. It wasobtained in advance of its scheduled public release this week.

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), based in Bethesda, Maryland, andHenderson, Australia-based Austal Ltd. (ASB) make different versionsof the Littoral Combat Ship. Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC), based inFalls Church, Virginia, is responsible for its mine-clearingcapabilities.

Gilmore’s report may add to the congressional scrutiny of avessel that some lawmakers are already criticizing. Amidquestions about whether the ship could survive in combat,departing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last month approved aNavy proposal to buy 20 modified ships after 2019 with improvedarmor, sensors and weapons following the first 32, which willcost an estimated $23 billion.