The Navy announced today that results of testing concluded Dec. 15 indicate the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) and the combat systems with which it is integrated are on track to a successful Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) in April and May of 2001.
Rear Adm. Kathleen K. Paige, director of Theater Air and Missile Defense & Systems Engineering for the Program Executive Office (Theater Surface Combatants), said today, "We came away from the last event in September with some concerns. The initial indicators are that we have resolved those concerns and are ready to move on. There is still a lot of work to be done both to prepare for OPEVAL and the battle group's next deployment, but we are clearly back on track."
The testing completed today, nicknamed Underway 11, began on Dec. 2 and was executed in two phases. Phase I, off the coast of Puerto Rico, was focused on demonstrating cooperative engagement and included multiple demonstrations of CEC and the Aegis Weapon System (AWS) ability to support challenging Standard missile engagements.
Phase II, off the Virginia Capes, introduced additional at-sea and land based units to fully stress system performance and replicate the challenge of multiple CEC equipped carrier battle groups operating together in a high track density environment while focusing on battle group training. Phase II also included a supersonic Vandal target engaged by the cruiser USS Hue City firing a Standard missile and the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy firing a NATO Sea Sparrow.
Other CEC-equipped ships participating in this testing included the cruisers USS Anzio, USS Vicksburg, and USS Cape St. George. Non-CEC-equipped ships involved in the testing were USS Carney and USS The Sullivans. Also involved were experimental CEC-equipped aircraft based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and the following shore stations: Surface Combat System Center Wallops Island, Va., Combat Direction Systems Station, Dam Neck, Va. and the Atlantic Fleet Weapons Training Facility (AFWTF) missile range, Puerto Rico.
The CEC system provides the capability for CEC-equipped ships to engage targets using sensor data from other CEC-equipped units such as ships, aircraft, and land-based sensors, even in a jamming environment. The fusion of sensor data from multiple radars significantly improves the consistency, completeness, and coherency of the tactical picture. This can increase the range at which enemy targets can be engaged. It also provides a common air defense picture that allows operational commanders in the battle group to make more effective decisions on force employment.
Capt. Dan Busch, CEC program manager, said, "Underway 10, in September, was the first time we had operated in an environment as stressing as required for OPEVAL and the results were, at least in part, disappointing. Underway 11 shows that we have corrected the problems uncovered in the previous underway testing. This demonstration was essential to the current CEC program schedule. One single program could not have achieved this success on its own. It took a determined effort not only from my CEC team, but also from the Aegis, ACDS [Advanced Combat Direction System], E-2C, and SPAWAR's [Space and Naval Warfare System Command's] tactical data links programs."
After analyzing data from the Underway 10 tests, fixes were identified for CEC, Aegis, ACDS Block 1, Shipboard Gridlock System with Auto Correlation (SGS/AC), and the Command and Control Processor (C2P). These fixes were coded and tested independently and during an integrated "dry run" in November and then were delivered to all ships, aircraft, and shore sites participating in Underway 11. Navy and industry team members participating in this effort included Raytheon (CEC and ACDS), Lockheed-Martin (Aegis), Naval Sea Systems Command Dahlgren Division (SGS/AC), and SPAWAR (tactical data link systems, including C2P).
The Navy says that observable results and initial data analysis indicate that Underway 11 appears to have met its critical objectives. Detailed data analysis will continue throughout the next month to more fully understand and characterize the results. The Navy intends that the systems will be ready for the OPEVAL and subsequent deployment of the USS John F. Kennedy battle group.