Right now, in many American ships beyond its Navy’s top-tier AEGIS destroyers and cruisers, the detect-to-engage sequence against anti-ship missiles requires a lot of manual steps, involving different ship systems that use different displays. When a Mach 3 missile gives you 45 seconds from appearance on ship’s radar to impact, seconds of delay can be fatal. Seconds of unnecessary delay are unacceptable.
Hence Raytheon’s Ship Self Defense System (SSDS), which is currently funded under the US Navy’s Quick Reaction Combat Capability program. It’s widely used as a combat system in America’s carrier and amphibious fleets. That can be challenging for its developers, given the wide array of hardware and systems it needs to work with. Consistent testing reports indicate that this is indeed the case, and SSDS has its share of gaps and issues. It also has a series of upgrade programs underway, in order to add new capabilities. Managing these demands effectively will have a big impact on the survivability of the US Navy’s most important power projection assets.