In parallel, testing of the follow-on SEWIP Block 3 increment – which adds a non-kinetic electronic attack capability – is underway at a navy land-based test site. A first ship installation is in progress.
A block upgrade program for the service’s legacy AN/SLQ-32(V) EW system, SEWIP is introducing a series of staged hardware/software uplifts designed to improve electronic surveillance (emitter detection, analysis, identification and threat warning) and electronic attack (to counter anti-ship missile threats).
SEWIP Block 1, delivered by General Dynamics Mission Systems, comprises a series of near-term upgrades to improve anti-ship missile defense (ASMD), counter-targeting and counter-surveillance capabilities. Block 1A introduces an updated Improved Control and Display human machine interface and electronic surveillance enhancements; Block 1B1 adds a standalone Specific Emitter Identification (SEI) capability; Block 1B2 integrates SEI functionality, network centric and mission planning capabilities; and Block 1B3 introduces a High Gain High Sensitivity (HGHS) capability.
Block 2, for which Lockheed Martin is contractor, introduces a more substantive passive electronic surveillance upgrade (an upgraded antenna and new digital receiver to deliver improved emitter detection and measurement accuracy) and a new open combat system interface. The SEWIP Block 1B3 HGHS adjunct sensor and Block 2 units are installed in conjunction to create the AN/SLQ-32(V)6 system.
A first AN/SLQ-32(V)6 installation was implemented on the guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) in 2016. Lockheed Martin continues full rate production, and has to date delivered around 130 SEWIP Block 2 systems to the navy.
A compact SEWIP Lite variant, known as AN/SLQ-32C(V)6, has been developed for smaller ships. Initial deliveries of this scaled version – designed to provide early detection, signal analysis and threat warning for small ships – are supporting the US Coast Guard Heritage class Offshore Patrol Cutter program and the navy’s Littoral Combat Ship.
SEWIP Block 3, as the latest increment, adds an advanced electronic attack subsystem – implementing a new transmitter/receiver and advanced jamming techniques to counter the ASMD threat – to the AN/SLQ-32(V)6 architecture to create the AN/SLQ-32(V)7 variant. Block 3 also encompasses a government software development effort for a Soft Kill Coordination System to provide direction and scheduling for both onboard and offboard ‘soft-kill’ decoys.
Northrop Grumman was contracted by the US Navy in February 2015 for SEWIP Block 3 design and development: the company’s SEWIP 3 technical solution adopts an active electronically scanned array based on Gallium Nitride transmit/receive modules, and leverages technology previously matured and de-risked under the Office of Naval Research’s Integrated Topside program.
Northrop Grumman completed SEWIP Block 3 system integration and qualification testing in mid-2021 as part of its engineering, manufacturing and development contract. Following this milestone, one of two Engineering Development Models built by the company was delivered to the Surface Combat Systems Center at Wallops Island, Virginia, to commence formal land-based testing.
In late 2018 Northrop Grumman received an order for two SEWIP Block 3 low rate initial production systems units following a Milestone C acquisition approval. The first of these units is now being installed on board the DDG-51 Flight IIA destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) as part of the ship’s current refit at NASSCO’s San Diego shipyard.
NAVSEA in September 2020 awarded Northrop Grumman a full rate production contract for Fiscal Year 2020-2024 SEWIP Block 3 electronic attack subsystem full-rate production and AN/SLQ-32(V)7 integration. DDG 51 Flight IIA ships are receiving the AN/SLQ-32(V)7 Hemisphere configuration, with hardware installations on the port and starboard sides of the main deckhouse block. A modified Quadrant configuration, using distributed and repackaged hardware building blocks, is planned for the CVNs and Wasp class amphibious assault ships.