US Navy tests LCS structural integrity on land

The U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program completed blast and fire testing of a full-scale structural assembly at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center officials announced Aug. 9.

Built to replicate Independence variant LCS standards of shipbuilding, the Multi Compartment Surrogate (MCS) was used to conduct destructive tests to assess the damage tolerance of the LCS under weapon-induced blast and fire conditions.

“The MCS testing allows us to test our simulations in a real-world and safe environment,” said LCS program manager Tom Anderson. “This analysis, along with the recent successful completion of Full Ship Shock Trials, will serve to support future survivability assessments of the Independence variant.”

The blast testing included placing charges within several compartments to evaluate how the structure reacts to overpressures within the spaces. Data was collected to understand the failure threshold of blast-induced structural ruptures. Testers also created controlled fires within the MCS to gather data on the effects of fire on the aluminum structure.

The data collected during the series of tests establishes a reference benchmark against which computer simulations can be compared. The testing, which concluded June 30, is a critical piece of the Modeling and Simulation (M&S) framework used to assess overall LCS survivability in a combat environment.

Additionally, the testing is used to support the Live Fire Test and Evaluation (LFT&E) program and is part of the ongoing LFT&E Modeling and Simulation/ Survivability analysis.

Built at Austal USA, the MCS was designed to Navy specifications and transported via barge to the Aberdeen Proving Ground from Mobile, Alabama. A heavy lift trailer moved the module from the barge slip to the test range.