Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Lee Buchanan authorized the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) program to move forward with the third of four low rate initial production (LRIP) buys, signifying a key acquisition decision. Following the fourth decision, the program will complete operation evaluation and will launch full rate production of the AN/USG-2 (Army Navy/General Utility Special Type Fire Control System) shipboard unit in fiscal 2002.
The LRIP 3 procurement provides additional units of the CEC AN/USG-2 installed in larger ships and the AN/USG-3 for aircraft and smaller land unit use. These units will be implemented in new construction of ship hulls, LPD 18, DDG 84, DDG 85, DDG 86, DDG 91, DDG 92 and for installations onboard the USS Eisenhower and two E-2C aircraft.
The authorization also includes two additional research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) units for continued integration of CEC with the United States Marine Corps air defense systems.
CEC serves as a major enabling step of a single integrated air picture and provides the fleet with the defensive flexibility required to confront the evolving threat of anti-ship cruise and theater ballistic missiles. By integrating the sensor data of each ship and aircraft into a single, real-time composite track picture, CEC significantly improves battle force anti-air warfare and theater air defense capabilities. This provides CEC-equipped ships in the battle group the opportunity to significantly improve their ability to engage challenging threat missiles by giving each ship a common accurate picture.
CEC provides this common picture by simultaneously distributing sensor measurement data on airborne threats to each CEC-equipped ship in real-time or by passing the information via the combat direction system to the theater air defense information link systems in near-real time within a battle group. Consequently, CEC extends the range at which a ship can engage hostile missiles to well beyond the radar horizon, provide significant reductions in dual tracks and track-swaps, and significantly improving area, local, and self-defense capabilities by providing long term track consistency.
The results of the eighth underway test indicated significant improvements to the combat picture as demonstrated by preliminary interoperability metrics approved by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition and the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Warfare Requirements and Assessments.
The CEC program's strides over the past year with engineering, developmental testing and operational assessment validated its progress in achieving successful benchmarks that supported the LRIP 3 decision.
These benchmarks included the successful at-sea testing of the AN/USG-2 interfaced with the AEGIS Baseline 6 Phase 1 combat system. In separate events to test integration of CEC's airborne version with E-2Cs, the commander of the Operational Test and Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR) gave AN/USG-3 the grade of "potentially operationally effective and suitable," the highest possible grade for this type of test. COMOPTEVFOR also recommended the CEC system for continued development.
These are CEC systems presently in the field together with the Advanced Combat Direction System (ACDS) computer program Block 1 upgrade program. These systems have achieved increased operational performance with the delivery of the CEC computer program version 2.0.12 to USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS Wasp, both currently deployed to the Mediterranean.
The LRIP 3 decision reflects confidence in the CEC Program as it moves toward its operational evaluation test, which is expected to start in April 2001 and the subsequent Milestone III decision. The LRIP 3 decision also marks the CEC program joint effort transition to Office of the Secretary of Defense oversight to acquisition category "ID" status.
For more information, contact Navy Lt. Jensin Sommer at (703) 697-5342