Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) intends to award a sole-source contract to Lockheed Martin for a combat management system for the future frigates, after the Navy determined the company is the only one capable of delivering the system without slowing down the rest of the acquisition program.
The current Littoral Combat Ship fleet is split evenly between Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-variant hull design with the Combat Management System Component Based Total Ship System – 21st Century (COMBATSS-21) system and Austal’s Independence-variant with a Northrop Grumman Integrated Combat Management System. When the LCS program shifts to the frigate program, though, the Navy has said it wants to take the opportunity to whittle down to a single, common combat management system (CMS).
Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training (LM MST) will provide that common system, according to a notification on FedBizOpps (FBO).
“Following announcement of the future modified LCS, the FF, the Navy conducted a review of potential common combat management systems to procure for the FF,” NAVSEA spokesman Chris Johnson told USNI News.
“The Navy determined that COMBATTS-21 was the only common combat management system which would not result in unacceptable delays to FF design and acquisition timelines.”
According to FBO, the contract would cover work from Fiscal Years 2016 to 2021, including “the development, software and hardware integration, procurement, and delivery of two COMBATSS-21 CMS for LCS Class Frigate ships.”
The contract would also buy the hardware and develop the software so that the common CMS could be backfitted onto the Freedom- and Independence-variant LCSs, according to the notice.
The contract will also include options for logistics products to support the CMS, hardware for two more FF ship sets and engineering support.
“LM MST is the only source that can meet the Navy’s Frigate shipbuilding program schedules. This notice is not a request for competitive proposals,” the FBO notice reiterates.
The Navy could not yet comment on why Lockheed Martin was deemed the sole capable source for the common CMS contract.
In April, Program Executive Officer for LCS Capt. Dan Brintzinghoffer said the Navy may keep the two hull designs in the frigate program but the FFs would have common combat systems, common over-the-horizon radars and over-the-horizon missiles, and possibly common consoles. He said at the time that he had about 18 months to pick which specific systems he would include in the final frigate design.