Ford-class Ship Self Defense System undergoes first live test

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Raytheon Company and the U.S. Navy have successfully completed the first-ever, live fire test of the latest generation of the Ship Self Defense System, or SSDS, Integrated Combat System on the Self Defense Test Ship. The test, conducted for USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), the first of the Navy’s newest class of aircraft carriers, successfully engaged an unmanned aerial vehicle target off the coast of California.

The CVN 78 SSDS Integrated Combat System incorporates several elements including Raytheon’s:

  • Dual Band Radar: This technology searched for, located and tracked the target. DBR then provided radar illumination to the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile to support missile guidance.
  • Cooperative Engagement Capability, or CEC: The capability validated and processed the Dual Band Radar data for SSDS. CEC is responsible for providing a single, integrated air picture, fusing data from multiple sensors to improve track accuracy.
  • Ship Self Defense System: SSDS processed the CEC data, determined the appropriate engagement ranges, passed launch commands to the missile, and scheduled Dual Band Radar support for the engagement.
  • Evolved SeaSparrow Missile: The interceptor successfully engaged and defeated the target.
  • Rolling Airframe Missile: The RAM interceptor was successfully scheduled by SSDS, but not required, since the target was destroyed by the ESSM.

The Ford was formally commissioned into the Navy on July 22, 2017, and is projected to be deployed around 2020, following further testing. The other class ships being built are the John F. Kennedy and the Enterprise. Also, the unnamed CVN 81 is planned.

The Ford class of ships are the first new design for an aircraft carrier since the Nimitz-class debuted in 1975.

Further integrated combat system live fire events will take place during subsequent developmental and operational testing planned for 2019.

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