The Navy is also looking to add synthetic aperture sonars to its MCM package, Lockheed’s Froelich says.”It’s just like a SAR [synthetic aperture radar], only it’s a SAS. It’s more information, so it needs higher bandwidth.”
Navy officials say GAO is nitpicking, overstating issues and failing to acknowledge the success the service and Lockheed have made thus far. Not only has the service and contractor solved significant problems — like RMS reliability — but they have also resolved nuts-and-bolts integration issues.
“All of the equipment in the mission bay — that was first integrated on LCS on [presentation] slides,” Nye says. “But we get on the ship, the door doesn’t open far enough because it bangs into something we didn’t know was there. That was our first series of LCS functionality tests. Those went on for about a year. You really do find some little things that you have to work around or work over.”
Ailes agrees. “On every ship, when you bring anything on, it’s never in accordance with the drawing,” he says. “In integration, that’s what you discover.”
Navy officials say GAO, and sometimes the DOT&E, simply do not understand or appreciate some of the technological underpinnings of the LCS systems, and the real importance of that technology to mine warfare.
“The hard part is in peacetime to know what will happen in wartime,” Ailes says. “That’s what their job is — to hold you accountable so that when war comes we can feel good about it.”