Battlespace Tech

Navy hires Lockheed for shipboard electronic warfare upgrades

The Navy has awarded another contract, this one potentially worth $59 million, to Lockheed Martin for upgrades to electronic warfare systems aboard surface ships.

The award formally is for just under $8 million for a round of upgrades under the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) through 2019. It could reach the higher amount if all of the contract’s options are exercised.

SEWIP, which was initiated in 2002, provides regular refreshes for the AN/SLQ-32 electronic warfare system, which has been around since the 1970s. The refreshes come in blocks, all of which have sub-designations, depending on their capabilities. Block 1, which is in full production, provides enhanced capabilities for anti-ship missile defense, counter targeting and counter surveillance. The new contract is for Block 1B3 systems.

Block 2, for which Lockheed received a maximum $147 million contract in September 2014, upgrades the antenna, receiver and open combat system interface. Block 3, which is being developed jointly by Lockheed and Raytheon, will give the system an electronic attack capability, as well ensuring that all ships with the AN/SLQ-32 have the same attack capability. (General Dynamics, which developed the original AN/SLQ-32, was the prime contractor on earlier Block 1 versions.)

Down the road, Block 4 will add advanced electro-optical and infrared capabilities.

The Navy says that, as of 2013, a total of 258 AN/SQL-32 systems, in 7 variants, were in use worldwide-- 147 of them on Navy ships, 17 on Coast Guard cutters and 94 deployed on the ships of 12 countries via Foreign Military Sales Transfers.

The Navy has been investing in electronic warfare capabilities lately. Earlier this week, the service added $13 million to a $279 million contract with Raytheon for the Next Generation Jammer, which is being installed on the EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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