Navy Awards Frigate Combat Management System Contract To Lockheed Martin

August 25, 2016 1:43 PM
A COMBATSS-21 console. Lockheed Martin photo.
A COMBATSS-21 console. Lockheed Martin photo.

The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth up to $79.6 million to design and build the Component-Based Total-Ship System – 21st Century (COMBATSS-21) combat management system for the first of the upcoming frigates.

COMBATSS-21 is an Aegis-based system already used on Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships, and the Navy announced last summer it would award a sole-source contract to use the system on the follow-on frigates.

On Aug. 22 the Navy awarded a contract for $67.9 million for hardware and software development, integration and delivery for combat systems for the first two frigates, along with technical data packages to support an eventual backfit effort for Austal’s Independence-variant LCSs. Including contract options for logistics and engineering support and hardware for the third and fourth frigates, the contract is valued at up to $79.6 million.

“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,” then-Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Chris Johnson told USNI News in August 2015.
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.”

The Navy previously hoped to transition both LCS variants – Lockheed Martin’s traditional monohull USS Freedom (LCS-1) design and Austal’s trimaran USS Independence (LCS-2) design – into the frigate program, up-armoring and up-gunning both ships to meet new frigate requirements and selecting a single combat management system for all frigates to increase commonality. However, the Pentagon ordered the Navy to downselect to a single design in December 2015. The service expects to decide on a hull design by Fiscal Year 2018, and whichever shipbuilder wins will use the COMBATSS-21 system purchased under this week’s contract.

Lockheed Martin said in a statement this week that selecting COMBATSS-21, which comes from the same common source library (CSL) as the Aegis Baseline 9, will create commonality between the frigates and cruisers and destroyers, Aegis Ashore sites, international ships, LCSs and Coast Guard National Security Cutters.

“We look forward to providing this combat management system to the frigates and potentially other platforms across the U.S. Navy, as it will bring commonality across the fleet of surface combatants and is a step toward realizing the vision of distributed lethality,” Rich Calabrese, director of Mission Systems at Lockheed Martin, said in the Aug. 23 statement.
“Using the CSL enhances life-cycle affordability by reducing costs for integration, test and certification – and delivers an open combat system architecture in line with the Navy’s objective architecture, driving affordability and increasing interoperability across the entire fleet.”

More than $1 million in Navy research and development dollars will be used this fiscal year to fund early efforts. The work will predominantly take place in Moorestown, N.J., and should be completed by June 2021.

Megan Eckstein

Megan Eckstein

Megan Eckstein is the former deputy editor for USNI News.

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox