Northrop Grumman has revealed that it has begun testing of engineering development model (EDM) hardware developed under the US Navy's (USN's) Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 3 programme.
The company said it is "on track" for the targeted installation of the first SEWIP Block 3 system in 2021 on board a DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.
The latest in a series of incremental upgrades to the AN/SLQ-32(V) electronic warfare (EW) system, Block 3 introduces an advanced electronic attack (EA) subsystem to the architecture of the existing AN/SLQ-32(V)6/SEWIP Block 2 system. The resulting system is being designated AN/SLQ-32(V)7.
The SEWIP Block 3 technical solution adopts an active electronically scanned array based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) transmit/receive modules and capitalises on technology previously matured and derisked under the Office of Naval Research's Integrated Topside programme. As well as jamming targeting radars and missile seekers, the Block 3 increment will also feature a Soft Kill Coordination System (SKCS) to provide direction and scheduling for both onboard and offboard soft-kill effectors.
Northrop Grumman was in October 2015 awarded a USD91.7 million target cost plus fee contract by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to complete the SEWIP Block 3 Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase. Under this award, the company has been tasked to mature the SEWIP Block 3 system design, finalise integration, modelling and test plans, and produce two production-representative EDMs for laboratory and field testing.
The SEWIP Block 3 EMD programme has encountered significant cost overruns and schedule slippage. However, Northrop Grumman was in January awarded a USD27.6 million contract modification to exercise options for the production of two SEWIP Block 3 system low rate initial production (LRIP) units. This followed a Milestone C acquisition approval from the USN that same month.
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