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For the first time ever, Raytheon Company’s Ship Self Defense System established a digital air connection between a sea-based U.S. Navy ship and an airborne U.S. Marine Corps Joint Strike Fighter F-35B aircraft. The demonstrations proved the combat system’s ability to share digital tactical data from a JSF across a deployed Expeditionary Strike Group.
This capability, also referred to as Link 16 Digital Air Control, or DAC, provides tactical, wireless integration between surface ships and aircraft, enhancing mission effectiveness through expanded situational awareness and interoperability. Shared data between surface ships and aircraft can include:
- Detected targets
- Mission assignment and engagement status exchange (without voice communication)
- Aircraft status information, such as fuel levels or weapons inventory
“Information is key for any Commander – and shared information from multiple sources and vantage points extends our battlespace and our advantage over enemy threats,” said U.S. Navy Captain Danny Busch, Program Executive Office – Ship Self Defense System (PEO IWS 10). “Now with the ability to link our sensors and weapons, from sea and air, SSDS is providing a level of interoperability and defensive capability never before available to the Expeditionary fleet.”
Working together with the U.S. Navy, Raytheon modified the current SSDS baseline (MK 2) to establish the DAC interface. In just under 18 months, the capability was developed, tested and delivered to the USS WASP – and successfully demonstrated. Now proven, other SSDS MK 2-equipped ships will be upgraded to include this mission-enhancing Link 16 DAC capability.
Background on SSDS
Proven and deployed, SSDS is an open, distributed combat management system in service on carriers and amphibious ships, including CVN, LSD, LPD, LHA and LHD classes. SSDS MK 2 is the premier self-defense system for the U.S. Navy. SSDS is integrated with Raytheon’s Cooperative Engagement Capability for the seamless extraction and distribution of sensor-derived information. This further enhances the ship’s anti-air warfare capability through the sharing of available data available to all participating CEC units. CEC improves battle force effectiveness by improving overall situational awareness and thereby enabling longer range, cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies.
Raytheon Company, with 2017 sales of $25 billion and 64,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 96 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5ITM products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries.