SEAPOWER / APRIL 2011
s part of its renewed focus on electronic war-fare capabilities, the Navy is planning furtherupgrades in its primary surface ship electron-ic surveillance and jamming systems, the SLQ-32.As it prepares for the introduction of Block 2 of itsSurface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program(SEWIP), a phased approach to upgrade the SLQ-32,the Navy is developing the concepts for Blocks 3 and 4of the SEWIP upgrades.“The Navy has had a resurgence in the [electronicwarfare] mission area, specifically,” said Rear Adm. SeanR. Filipowski, director of cyber, sensors and electronicwarfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.“We’ve begun to recapitalize our capabilities fleet-wide.Technology today is exploding all around us and thereare huge leaps in technological capabilities that could beturned into weapons systems.“SLQ-32 has been around a long time and it servedus well,” Filipowski said. “Much like the ALQ-99[jamming system on the EA-6B aircraft], it’s reached atipping point where our ability to upgrade it has beensurpassed by technology leaps as well as potentialthreats. The transition to the [SEWIP] — a blockapproach designed to take advantage of rapid technol-ogy increases in our capability — has proven to bevery effective.”The original SLQ-32, designedby Raytheon Co., was introducedin the 1980s as a warning systemprimarily against incoming anti-ship cruise missiles. Some versionsalso have a jamming capability.In 1996, the Advanced Inte-grated Electronic Warfare Systemprogram was begun to replace theSLQ-32, but was canceled in 2002because of delays and cost. TheSEWIP program was created tointroduce a series of upgrades tothe SLQ-32. General Dynamics wasselected as the contractor for SEWIP Block 1, whichwas introduced in phases.Block 1A dealt with obsolescence issues, particular-ly since some processors were no longer in produc-tion. Block 1B1 involved upgrades to meet evolvingthreats. Block 1B2 added a Specific Emitter Identifi-cation capability, enabling the operator to identify thetype of threat.Blocks 1A, 1B1 and 1B2 reached full-rate produc-tion and are being fielded, Cmdr. Theodore Zobel, theprincipal assistant program manager for electronicwarfare for the program executive officer for integrat-ed warfare systems, said in a written response to ques-tions. As of early March, approximately 65 Block 1A,40 Block 1B1 and 10 Block 1B2 systems had beenfielded.Block 1B3, for which Lockheed Martin is a majorsubcontractor, adds High Gain/High Sensitivity to theSLQ-32 and is in contractor testing. It is scheduled toenter low-rate initial production in October.SEWIP Block 2, for which Lockheed Martin is primecontractor, represents “a technological leap forward, andpositions the Navy to continue to stay ahead of thethreats as they’re coming down the pike,” said JoeOttaviano, SEWIP program director for Lockheed MartinMission Systems and Sensors in Syracuse, N.Y.
A Leap Forward
Navy upgrades surface ship electronic defense against future threats
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
The Navy is fielding a new generation of shipboard electronicwarfare capabilities.
Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program Block 2upgrades will be tested in 2012.
Future blocks will upgrade jamming capabilities.
Defeating missiles with tri-mode seekers will be a focus of laterupgrades.