The U.S. Navy is another step closer to fielding a system to provide one, clear tactical picture that incorporates all available air-defense radars and sensors. Testing completed today off Wallops Island, Va., simulated missile firings from some of the Navy's most technically advanced ships against unmanned drones.
Known as "Underway #10," this event is part of a series of tests leading to the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) Operation Evaluation (OPEVAL) scheduled for Spring 2001. The CEC system provides the capability to cooperatively engage targets by a warship using data from other CEC-equipped ships, aircraft, and land-based sensors, even in an electronic-jamming environment. It also provides a common, consistent, and highly accurate air picture, allowing battle group defenses to act as one seamless system. The networking of individual ship's weapons systems increases the range at which targets can be identified and engaged.
The testing featured units under the operational command of Commander Carrier Group 6 including USS Wasp (LHD 1), USS Hue City (CG 66), USS Anzio (CG 68), USS Cape St. George (CG 71), USS Vicksburg (CG 69), and USS Carney (DDG 64). Also participating was USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) while in-port Norfolk, Va.; various other air units both in-port and at sea including CEC land sites at the Surface Combat System Center (SCSC) Wallops Island, Va., and the Combat Direction Systems Station, Dam Neck, Va.
"'Underway # 10' was successful in verifying specific critical technical measures in the areas of cooperative engagement, identification, composite tracking, data distribution, distributed air defense, system support, common tactical picture support and force interoperability," said Rear Adm. Kathleen K. Paige, director, Theater Air and Missile Defense and Systems Engineering, Naval Sea Systems Command. "It also demonstrated the great team of Sailors, civilians and industry committed to the successful fleet-wide introduction of CEC," Paige added. Raytheon is responsible for CEC and Lockheed Martin, for the Aegis Combat System.
Final analysis and assessment of the data collected will be used to support "Underway # 11" in December, the next major step in preparing for the CEC OPEVAL in Spring 2001.
For more information, contact Navy Capt. Chris Taylor at (703) 602-7144, ext. 128.