December 2, 2011

Contract Award: Raytheon to support U.S. Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capabilities

News Report

As announced by U.S. DoD, Raytheon Network Centric Systems has been awarded a $67,407,373 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-5202) for design agent and engineering support services in support of the U.S. Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capabilities (CEC) Program.

CEC is a sensor netting system that significantly improves battle force anti-air warfare capability by extracting and distributing sensor-derived information such that the superset of this data is available to all participating CEC units.  CEC improves battle force effectiveness by improving overall situational awareness and by enabling longer range, cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies.

Under the terms of the award, Raytheon will support services in the areas of technical and engineering support, training, supplies, overhaul, maintenance and repair, assemblies, Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) preparation and proofing, and facilities improvements to both reliability and interoperability.

The U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. Work will be performed in St. Petersburg, Fla. (90 percent), and Largo, Fla. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2012.

This contract action combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (50 percent), and the government of Australia (4 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program.

The Technology

Cooperative Engagement Capabilities is based on the approach of taking full advantage of the diversities provided by each combatant at a different location with different sensor and weapons frequencies and features. This approach requires sharing measurements from every sensor (unfiltered range, bearing, elevation, and, if available, Doppler updates) among all units while retaining the critical data characteristics of accuracy and timeliness. For effective use, the data must be integrated into each unit’s combat system so that it can use the data as if it were generated onboard that unit. Thus, the battle force of units networked in this way can operate as a single, distributed, theater defensive system.

The concept behind CEC in the Navy domain is thus a sensor netting system that allows many ships to pool their radar and sensor information together, creating a very powerful and detailed picture that’s much finer, more wide-ranging, and more consistent than any one ship could generate on its own. The data is then shared among all ships and participating systems in the air and on the ground, using secure frequencies.

Ships using CEC get more than a detailed picture – they can extend engagement ranges through cooperative engagements, such as handover of missile control from the launching platform to another ship or radar that is better able to see and illuminate the target. This is especially helpful with long-range anti-air missiles, which have ranges of several hundred miles.

With the combination of precision gridlock, very low time delay, and very high update rate, a combatant may fire a missile and guide it to intercept a target, even a maneuvering one, using radar data from another CEC unit even if it never acquires the target with its own radars. The remote engagement operation is essentially transparent to the combat system operators. Engagements can be coordinated, whether conventional or cooperative, via real-time knowledge of the detailed status of every engagement within the CEC network. Moreover, a coordination doctrine may be activated for automated engagement recommendations at each ship, based on force-level engagement calculations.

Modifications to already existing combat system may be required to allow utilization of remote radar and engagement data in a manner similar to that of data generated onboard.

The Context

The CEC concept was conceived in the early 1970s. Requirements development and critical experiments were performed primarily for a U.S. Navy air defense coordination exploratory development program, which was originally called Battle Group Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) Coordination.

The first critical at-sea experiment with a system prototype occurred in 1990. The CEC became a U.S. Navy acquisition program in 1992.

Since 2000, the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington, issued the majority of CEC-realted contracts, and Raytheon’s Network Centric Systems has been the contractor.

References: U.S. DoD (1), Defense Industry Daily (2), Johns Hopkins (3)

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