Naval Systems - Integrated-Systems Work Starts for Final San Antonios

The company also builds the San Antonio s’ ship self-defense system (SSDS Mk 2), which integrates air-defense weapon and sensor systems, and also is fielded to Nimitz -class aircraft carriers and Wasp -class big-deck amphious-assault ships. The company also has built an SSDS Mk 1 variant for the Whidbey Island –class and Harpers Ferry –class amphibs.

Performance of the San Antonio class has been controversial, as the lead ship experienced persistent systems-reliability problems since its commissioning in 2006. Those problems, Navy officials say, now have been resolved. However, the Navy required the newest ship, the USS San Diego (LPD-22), to go through extended acceptance trials, which it completed successfully in November. The ship is set for commissioning on 19 May in San Diego.

As total ship-electronics integrator for the San Antonio s, Raytheon meanwhile is developing the SWAN and other electronics systems for LPD-27, final ship of the class.

Randy Brandenburg, director of command and control systems at Raytheon IDS, said that the government has assumed the in-service engineering-agent role for many of the electronics systems originally provided by Raytheon for the San Antonio class, and the company continues to build the SWAN and several other major systems.

From the start of the design of the San Antonio class, the SWAN was considered a major innovation. Brandenburg said the system acts as a “tactical network inside the ship.” Raytheon collaborates with shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls to integrate both government- and contractor-furnished systems for the class. L3 Maritime Systems provides the class’ engineering-control system, and Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine provides the ship-control system.

Raytheon also serves as life-cycle engineering-services contractor for the San Antonio program, responsible for “managing obsolescence,” Brandenburg said, for both government- and contactor-furnished equipment systems. The company has replaced the second-generation gigabit Ethernet “mesh” design for the SWAN with a more powerful gigabit Ethernet token-ring that can handle far greater volumes of data.

The life-cycle management work includes moving the San Antonio –class electronics suite toward full compliance with the Navy’s Open Architecture (OA) mandate, based on its Open Architecture Computing Environment, which requires use of commercial standards and commercially developed interfaces for many surface-ship combat systems.

Raytheon already has completed and delivered to the Navy the fully OA-compliant SSDS Mk 2 for the Murtha , the final system ordered on its 2010 production contract. The SSDS integrates the rolling airframe missile, Mk 15 Phalanx gatling gun, NATO Seasparrow and Evolved Seasparrow missiles, the SLQ-32 electronic-warfare system, SPS-73 radar, and NULKA decoy, all linked to LAN (local area network) access units that interface with the SWAN.

Brandenberg said the company is working to shift the current SSDS Mk 1 ships, the Whidbey Island and Harper’s Ferry classes, to the Mk 2 architecture by means of a new Mod 5C software build and an SSDS single-source baseline for both Mk 2 and Mk 1 ships. “We want to force all the platforms to use the single-source baseline,” thereby allowing the company and the Navy to field a single OA-compliant software build, he said.

The company has completed the Mod5C development and factory testing, he says. Navy testing is set to begin at the Surface Combat Systems Center in Wallops Island, Virginia, this spring, aiming at fielding by this summer.

Mr. Walsh is a veteran reporter of Navy and Marine Corps news and former editor of Naval Systems Update .


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