U.S. Navy to Spend over $2 Billion on Naval Electronic Warfare Program

By Andrew Dardine, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Based on a projection in the FY16 defense budget, the U.S. Navy will spend more than $2.3 billion over the next several years developing and purchasing upgrades for the SLQ-32 EW system. Through the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), the U.S. Navy is enhancing the capability of its SLQ-32 to counter evolving threats. All U.S. aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and other warships use the SLQ-32 EW system. In addition, the Navy intends to equip future warships, including the DDG-1000, with the SLQ-32.

The Navy is upgrading the system in a spiral plan that includes four blocks. Each block will add capabilities to the system, such as electronic attack and infrared detection, as well as improve the underlying technology behind the system. In March 2015, the U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $267 million contract to develop and manufacture SEWIP Block 3.

In November 2014, the U.S. Navy announced it was evaluating a scaled-down version of the SEWIP system for potential incorporation on future Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). Designated as SLQ-32C(V)6, the new version will provide LCS with an improved electronic warfare suite to improve the ships’ defense capabilities. Upgrades to the antenna, receiver and combat system interface allow the SEWIP system to pace new threats; improve signal detection, measurement accuracies and classification; and mitigate electromagnetic interference.

The SLQ-32 program has also generated myriad support contracts this year. In May 2015 Mercury Systems was awarded a $7.1 million contract for bus controllers, precision direction-finding synthesizers, PDF tuners, eight-channel digital receivers, four-channel digital receivers, and clock generator versa module eurobus cards. These components will be used as spares during the installation of the SLQ-32(V)6 systems on Navy and Coast Guard ships.

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