USN Ship Protection: From “Slick 32s” to SEWIP
February 11/19: SEWIP full-rate production The Naval Sea Systems Command contracted General Dynamics Mission Systems with a $14.5 million modification to exercise options for Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement (SEWIP) Block 1B3 full-rate production. SEWIP is an evolutionary acquisition and incremental development program to upgrade the AN/SLQ-32(V) electronic warfare system. The AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare Suite or „slick-32“ is the primary electronic warfare system utilized by the US Navy. The system achieves EW objectives by providing full threat band frequency coverage, instantaneous azimuth coverage, 100 percent probability of intercept and simultaneous response to multiple threats. It can detect aircraft search and target radars well before they detect the ship. SEWIP provides enhanced shipboard electronic warfare for early detection, analysis, threat warning, and protection from anti-ship missiles. SEWIP Block 1 focuses on obsolescence mitigation and special signal intercept. Work will take place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and is expected to be finished by May next year.
The US Navy’s AN/SLQ-32 ECM (Electronic Countermeasures) system uses radar warning receivers, and in some cases active jamming, as the part of ships’ self-defense system. The “Slick 32s” provides warning of incoming attacks, and is integrated with the ships’ defenses to trigger Rapid Blooming Offboard Chaff (RBOC) and other decoys, which can fire either semi-automatically or on manual direction from a ship’s ECM operators.
The “Slick 32” variants are based on modular building blocks, and each variant is suited to a different type of ship. Most of these systems were designed in the 1970s, however, and are based on 1960s-era technology. Unfortunately, the SLQ-32 was notable for its failure when the USS Stark was hit by Iraqi Exocet missiles in 1987. The systems have been modernized somewhat, but in an era that features more and more supersonic ship-killing missiles, with better radars and advanced electronics, SLQ-32’s fundamental electronic hardware architecture is inadequate. Hence the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP).
Overall, SEWIP is a $5.297 billion program, with spending ramping up sharply as of FY 2014.
Though SLQ-32 is a Raytheon system, SEWIP began in 2003 with General Dynamics as the lead integrator. Blocks 1A, 1B2, and 1B3 all use the improved control and display (ICAD) console, which is a GD-AIS upgrade based on the commonly used Lockheed Martin AN/ULQ-70 computing and display console.
SEWIP Block 1A adds the improved displays and a modern interface noted above, along with some hardware switchouts that add modern commercial-off-the-shelf hardware to drive the new display, and handle some signal processing (Electronic Surveillance Enhancements, or ESE).
SWEIP Block 1B1 made more changes to replace obsolete SLQ-32 electronics, some of which aren’t even manufactured any more, and improved the system’s ability to locate the source of incoming radar signals. SEWIP Block 1B1 provides a AN/SSX-1 stand-alone specific emitter identification (SEI) subsystem to ships with the active AN/SLQ-32(V) variant. For small ships, the Small Ship Electronic Support Measures System (SSESM) provides Specific Emitter Identification (SEI) capability in a stand-alone configuration.
SEWIP Block 1B2. For those ships which already have 1B1, this adds federated Specific Emitter Identification, and fully integrates SEI with Block 1A’s ICAD/Q-70 console.
SEWIP Block 1B3 adds additional display upgrades, and a High Gain High Sensitivity (HGHS) subsystem, to help ships deal with modern missiles that announce their presence less boldly and offer less warning time. It received its Milestone C/Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) go ahead in summer 2012, and is expected to hit Full Rate Production (FRP) in spring 2014.
Those low-cost, low-risk inserts deal with some of the SLQ-32 system’s issues, but not all. Over the longer term, the system’s fundamental receiver/emitter electronics need to be updated to modern technologies. Its software needs improvements that let ships take better advantage of the new hardware’s capabilities, make it easier to share SEWIP information with their own ship’s combat system, and allow sharing with other ships.
SEWIP Block 2 is described as an upgrade, but it’s more like a major home renovation. It replaces the old SLQ-32 receivers and antennas with modern digital technologies, adding new capability, flexibility, and signal processing muscle. Block 2 also modifies the software, creating a single, unified interface to the combat system in place of multiple interfaces to individual components of the combat system. This makes future upgrades simpler, and may also have the effect of improving performance. Lockheed Martin’s ICEWS materials touted under 200ms end-to-end latency, a low false alarm rate, and good high-pulse throughput for cluttered environments.
The Block 2 contract was awarded to a Lockheed Martin/ ITT partnership at the very end of FY 2009. June 2010 was the next key milestone, and a July 2010 contract continues development. The system passed its Critical Design Review in early 2011, and the partnership was scheduled to deliver 2 prototypes in 2012. This ACAT II program achieved Milestone C approval in January 2013, with approval to begin Low Rate Initial Production, and the contract was restructured to begin LRIP in March 2013. Contracts for production and installation are now underway.
SEWIP Block 3 and beyond could look very different. Block 3 looks to add improvements to SEWIP’s Electronic Attack (EA, or jamming) capability. The goal is a common EA capability to all surface combatants (CVN, CG, DDG, LHA) outfitted with the active V3/v4 variants of the AN/SLQ-32, mainly the (V)3 and (V)4, as well as “select new-construction platforms.” It builds on ESM improvements in Blocks 1 and 2, but isn’t expected to hit its Milestone C Low-Rate Initial Production approval until early 2017. Initial Operational Test & Evaluation isn’t scheduled until summer 2018.
A US Navy program called “Integrated Topside” aims to take all of the little bolt-ons and antennas used for communications, basic radar functions, and electronic warfare, and make them all part of 1 unified architecture. That could help improve ships’ anti-radar profiles, increase their communications bandwidth, and resolve electromagnetic interference and compatibility issues between different devices. New-generation AESA radars have already demonstrated communications and electronic jamming potential, and current research is focused on that technology as the way forward.
SEWIP Block 3T will provide “an initial interim capability of a focused application of the Naval Research Laboratory Transportable EW Module (TEWM) to meet an urgent operational needs statement.”
Contracts and Key Events
FY 2015 – 2018
LM awarded $153.9M; NG awarded $91.7M
December 13/17: Report-Wasting of Funds A report released Monday by the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General into the US Navy’s Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program has found that the service did not effectively develop and manage electronic warfare capabilities for upgrades to the AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare Suite. The mismanagement resulted in the waste of almost $2 million and lengthened the acquisition process by about two years with inadequate results. Managed by the Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems under Naval Sea Systems Command, the Inspector General found that Navy officials waived a step of the development process—details of which were redacted from the report—in order to stay on schedule instead of correcting problems before entering initial operational test and evaluation. This skipping resulted in additional costs of $1.8 million to conduct a second phase of initial operational test and evaluation on Block 2, delaying the acquisition schedule by almost two years. Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems said it will continue to work with the commander for operational test and evaluation force to close the remaining deficiencies, according to the declassified report.
March 20/17: Lockheed Martin has won a $98 million US Navy contract to produce and deliver the service’s Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program systems. The modification covers work for the program’s Block 2 subsystems, which aim to expand upon the receiver and antenna groups necessary to support threat detection and improved system integration. Work will be completed by July 2019.
October 7/15: Northrop Grumman has been handed a $91.7 million contract modification for the SEWIP Block 3’s engineering and manufacturing development phase. The Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP)’s Block 3 increment is intended to provide a scalable electronic warfare and electronic attack capability, building on out-of-production AN/SLQ-32(V) electronic warfare systems. Block 2 is already in low rate initial production, following a $147.5 million contract to Lockheed Martin in September 2014.
July 13/15: Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $153.9 million contract modification to supply components for the out-of-production AN/SLQ-32(V) ship electronic warfare system as part of the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2 acquisition program. This follows a $147.5 million contract in September 2014 for SEWIP Block 2 low rate initial production and fielding, also awarded to Lockheed Martin. SEWIP Block 2 replaces the old SLQ-32 receivers and antennas with modern digital technologies and modifies the software, creating a single, unified interface to the combat system in place of multiple interfaces to individual components of the combat system.
FY 2013 – 2014
SEWIP 2 restructured to fixed-price components; LRIP orders for Block 1B3 and Block 2; EW simulator shortage could affect Block 2 testing.
Sept 11/14: Block 2. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Liverpool, NY receives a maximum $147.5 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed fee, and cost-type-letter contract for SEWIP Block 2 low rate initial production and fielding of 14 upgrade sets.
This would be the LRIP-2 order, with $76.75 million committed immediately from FY 2013 Navy shipbuilding and FY 2014 Navy RDT&E budgets. Options could increase LRIP-2 to $158.8 million. LRIP-1 involved 10 upgrade sets, and in July 2014, the Navy installed SEWIP Block 2 system on USS Bainbridge [DDG-96] for operational testing.
Work will be performed in Syracuse, NY (69%); Lansdale, PA (19%); and Chelmsford, MA (12%), and is expected to be complete by September 2017. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1) – only one responsible source and no other suppliers or services will satisfy agency requirements. US Navy NAVSEA at Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024 14-C-5340). See also Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Receives Additional Electronic Warfare Contract To Protect The Navy’s Fleet”.
Block 2: LRIP-2 order
Aug 18/14: Block 1B3. General Dynamics AIS in Fairfax, VA receives a not-to-exceed $19.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 15 SEWIP Block 1B3 sets; FY 2014 orders are still Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) units, instead of hitting Full Rate Production as expected. $8.1 million is committed immediately, using US Navy FY 2011, 2013, and 2014 budget lines.
Work will be performed in Pittsfield, MA (50%): Fairfax, VA (18%); Thousand Oaks, CA (17%); and San Diego, CA (15%), and is expected to be complete by September 2016. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1) and FAR 6.302-1 by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-14-C-5341).
Block 1B3, FY 2014
Jan 14/14: Block 2. Lockheed Martin has been doing land based testing of SEWIP Block 2 since the January 2014 Milestone C decision, and they have now completed shore-based tests of full system operation in multiple scenarios.
Work on the SEWIP program is performed at the company’s Syracuse, N.Y. facility, which houses a new electronic warfare system test facility. Low-rate production is underway, and the program’s next steps involve ship installation, via upgrades of existing AN/SLQ-32(V)2 systems. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Completes Critical Milestone To Upgrade The Navy’s Electronic Warfare Defenses”.
May 31/13: Block 1B3. General Dynamics, Advanced Information Systems in Fairfax, VA receives a $15 million contract modification to previously awarded contract for 9 high-gain, high-sensitivity antenna systems in support of SEWIP Block 1B3 low-rate initial production requirements. The new antennas give SEWIP the ability to detect and identify additional enemies.
Work will be performed in Fairfax, VA, and is expected to be complete by March 2015. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 and 2013 funds. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-5396).
Block 1B3 into production
May 29/13: Block 2, LRIP-1. Lockheed Martin in Liverpool, NY receives a $39.1 million firm-fixed-price option for SEWIP Block 2 System low-rate initial production units. Lockheed Martin had originally announced it as a $57 million contract (vid. March 26/13), but if this is the same production year, the LRIP Lot 1 total appears to be $70 million instead.
Work will be performed in Syracuse, NY (68%), and in Lansdale, PA (32%), and is expected to be complete by September 2014. All funding is committed immediately by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-09-C-5300).
April 29/13: Block 1B3. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems announces a $15 million contract modification to continue SEWIP Block 1B3 development and production.
Since 2003, GD-AIS has partnered with the Navy on the continued evolution of SEWIP through Blocks 1A, 1B1, 1B2 and now 1B3 as the systems integrator. For the 1B3 system, Lockheed Martin MST is supporting GD-AIS as a major subcontractor. Sources: GD-AIS, “General Dynamics Awarded $15 Million to Continue Work on U.S. Navy’s Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program”.
April 10/13: FY 2014 Budget. The President releases a proposed budget at last, the latest in modern memory. The Senate and House were already working on budgets in his absence, but the Pentagon’s submission is actually important to proceedings going forward. See ongoing DID coverage.
This budget is an important inflection point for SEWIP, as critical production approvals are now in place. The procurement budget request jumps from $92.3 million in FY 2013 to $203.4 million, and is set to increase further in the coming years, reaching $372.1 million in FY 2018. The overall procurement program is $5.297 billion.
March 26/13: Block 2, LRIP-1. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Liverpool, NY receives a $30.6 million contract modification, exercising firm-fixed-price options for low-rate initial production SEWIP Block 2 units.
Work will be performed in Syracuse, NY (68%), and Lansdale, PA (32%), and is expected to be complete by September 2014. All funding is committed immediately, and will be managed by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-09-C-5300). See also Lockheed Martin, who values it at $57 million, but subsequent orders (q.v. May 29/13) appear to sum to $70 million instead.
March 22/13: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Liverpool, NY received a $27.4 million modification and restructuring of the SEWIP Block 2 contract. The restructuring converts fixed-price with incentive-options for Block 2’s System long-lead time pre-production material to firm-fixed-price options. All funds are committed immediately.
Work will be performed in Syracuse, NY, and is expected to be complete by March 2014. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-09-C-5300).
Block 2 contract restructured, 1st LRIP order
Jan 17/13: DOT&E Testing Report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). SEWIP Block 2 is included only in passing:
“At present, there exists only one each of the Kappa, Uniform, and Gamma EW simulators. These simulators are flown on Lear Jets against shipboard EW systems. SEWIP Block 2 is the latest EW system under development. Two of these simulators are needed (one for each Lear Jet) so that threat-realistic stream raid profiles can be used to adequately test the SEWIP Block 2 in FY14. An estimated development/procurement cost is $5 Million.”
FY 2011 – 2012
Block 1B1 and 1B2 production; Block 2 full SDD contract and CDR; Budget documents provide some updates; Vendors thinking about Block 3.
Aug 1/12: Block 3. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon demonstrate their proposed SEWIP 3 solution during the multinational Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise near Hawaii. It went to sea aboard Lockheed Martin’s mobile Integrated Common Electronic Warfare System (ICEWS) test bed. Lockheed Martin.
Feb 13/12: The USA’s FY 2013 budget documents include documents that don’t break SEWIP spending out specifically, but do discuss some past SEWIP activities and future plans, as part of a larger suite of research:
“ Continued the Enhanced Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Transmitter FNC effort by starting system architecture design and Low Voltage Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) High Power Amplifier (HPA) Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) purchases. This effort develops affordable and reliable solid state transmitter technologies to engage anti-ship cruise and ballistic missile RF seekers.
 Complete Enhanced SEWIP Transmitter – Conduct a final test of the enhanced Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) transmit array in the anechoic chamber…. Complete Enhanced Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Transmitter – Demonstrate full enhanced SEWIP array performance in a relevant field environment.”
Jan 31/12: Block 3. Lockheed Martin (SEWIP Block 2) and Raytheon (original SLQ-32) announce that they’re teaming to compete for SEWIP Block 3, whose details aren’t clear yet. Lockheed Martin | Model of their proposed solution [JPG graphic, 2.3 MB].
July 18/11: Block 1. General Dynamics Advance Information Systems (GD-AIS), Inc.in Fairfax, VA receives cost-plus-fixed fee job orders estimated at $9.9 million to continue systems engineering and system software/firmware support for SEWIP Blocks 1A, 1B1, 1B2, and 1B3.
Work will be performed in Fairfax, VA, and is expected to be complete by January 2015. The basic ordering agreement was not competitively procured because the US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN determined there was only one responsible source, and no other suppliers will satisfy the agency requirements (N00164-11-G-PM04).
March 16/11: FY 2011 Block 1. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in Fairfax, VA receives a $7 million contract modification, exercising firm-fixed-price options for FY 2011 SEWIP Block 1B1 and 1B2 full-rate production and spares.
Work will be performed in Fairfax, VA, and is expected to be complete by July 2012. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, DC manages the contract (N00024-09-C-5396).
March 15/11: Block 2. Lockheed Martin announces a successful critical design review (CDR) for SEWIP Block 2. Lockheed Martin’s SEWIP program director, Joe Ottaviano, notes that the CDR’s success serves as the contractual go-ahead to produce 2 system prototypes by 2012.
Block 2 CDR
FY 2010 – 2011
Block 1B3 development; Block 2 development contract & PDR.
Aug 11/10: Testing. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MaA receives a $36.1 million contract modification (N00024-05-C-5346) for mission systems equipment (MSE) that will be used on the US Navy’s Self Defense Test Ship, in support of the Anti-Air Warfare Self Defense Enterprise Test and Evaluation Master Plan. The equipment will support the DDG 1000 and CVN 78 classes of ships, which use the new Dual Band Radar. Raytheon will also conduct follow-on operation test and evaluation efforts for the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (RIM-162 ESSM) and Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP).
July 28/10: Block 2. Lockheed Martin announces that the U.S. Navy has approved their SEWIP Block 2 upgrade design, in a Preliminary Design Review. This is a significant milestone under the initial design contract (vid. Sept 30/09 entry).
Block 2 PDR
July 8/10: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Liverpool, NY received a $51.1 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5300), exercising the cost-plus-incentive-fee option for SEWIP Block 2 system development and demonstration.
Work will be performed in Syracuse, NY (74.5%); Lansdale, PA (13.7%); and Morgan Hill, CA (11.8%). Work is expected to be complete by January 2013. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, DC manages the contract (N00024-09-C-5300).
Block 2 SDD
March 25/10: Block 1. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Inc. in Fairfax, VA received a $12.4 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5396), exercising a cost-plus-fixed-fee option for FY 2010 SEWIP Block 1B engineering services. It also exercises firm-fixed-price options for FY 2010 SEWIP Block 1B1 production units and spares, and for Block 1B2 production units, modification kits, and spares.
Work will be performed in Fairfax, VA (65%), and Annapolis Junction, MD (35%), and is expected to be complete by December 2012. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages this contract.
Sept 30/09: Block 2. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Liverpool, NY receives a $9.9 million cost plus incentive fee contract for the Preliminary Design of the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2.
Lockheed Martin’s Nov 2/09 release says that their team will provide a modular solution based on the Integrated Common Electronics Warfare System that was demonstrated at sea in summer 2008, using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics. The company confirmed that it remains partnered with ITT, and their team will produce a preliminary design by June 2010. If development is successful, there will be no re-compete, and production options could total $166.9 million.
Work will be performed in Liverpool, N.Y. (76%); Lansdale, PA (13%), and Morgan Hill, CA (11%). This contract was competitively procured under full and open competition, and 3 offers were received (Lockheed/ITT, GD/BAE, and Northrop Grumman) by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, D.C. (N00024-09-C-5300). See also Lockheed Martin.
Team Lockheed wins SEWIP Block 2 development
March 31/09: Block 1. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Inc. in Fairfax, VA received a $40 million not-to-exceed contract for Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 1B research and development, and production requirements. This contract includes the continued design and development of SEWIP Block 1B3, with a specialized HGHS (High Gain High Sensitivity) subsystem, to enhance the SLQ-32’s detection capabilities against emerging threats, and full rate production of SEWIP Block 1B2 units.
GD-AIS has been the SEWIP program’s lead integrator since 2003. Work will be performed in Fairfax, VA (60%) and Syracuse, NY (40%), and is expected to be complete by July 2011. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-09-C-5396).
Dec 3/08: Block 2 competition. Defense Daily offers a roundup of the SEWIP Block 2 program competition between GD/BAE, Lockheed/ITT, and Northrop Grumman, who’s thinking about adapting the system it’s developing for the Navy’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class destroyers. Read: “Industry Readying For Navy’s Release of SEWIP Block 2 RFP.”
Dec 1/08: Block 1. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors wins a contract from General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Inc., to develop and produce SEWIP Block 1B3’s High Gain, High Sensitivity (HGHS) sub-system. The contract includes the topside antenna systems, the below decks signal processor, and the processing algorithms that accompany the processor. It is valued at up to $36 million including options, and was awarded after a competitive bidding process. GD-AIS.
Dec 1/08: Block 2 competition. Lockheed Martin and ITT announce that they’ve teamed up to compete for the SEWIP Block 2 contract. Lockheed Martin.
October 23/08: Block 2 competition. General Dynamics and BAE Systems announce that they’ve teamed up to compete for the SEWIP Block 2 contract. Their solution is called “Sea Lightning.” BAE Systems.
- DID – InTop: Sorting out Ships’ Topside Mess. Northrop Grumman has explicitly said that these efforts will lay the hardware and controller foundations for SEWIP 3.
- US Navy – Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP).
- General Dynamics AIS – Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP).
- Lockheed Martin – Electronic Warfare. Naval EW page, includes SEWIP.
- Lockheed Martin – Integrated Common Electronic Warfare System (ICEWS) Brochure [PDF]. ICEWS forms the basis for SEWIP Block 2.
- Raytheon – AN/SLQ-32 (V).
- Global Security – AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare (EW) system.
- Harold Lee Wise – Inside the Danger Zone: The U.S. Military in the Persian Gulf, 1987-1988. Includes what is very probably the best public account of the attack on the USS Stark.