USS Gerald R. Ford completes Ship Self Defense System live fire test

US Navy’s newly-commissioned aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) recently wrapped up the first-ever live fire test of the latest generation of the Ship Self Defense System, or SSDS, Integrated Combat System on the Self Defense Test Ship.

Illustration: US Navy file photo of an ESSM launch from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)

The test successfully engaged an unmanned aerial vehicle target off the coast of California.

The CVN 78 SSDS Integrated Combat System incorporates several elements including Raytheon’s dual band radar, Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), SSDS which processed the CEC data, the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) which engaged and defeated the target, and the Rolling Airframe Missile which was not not needed as the target was destroyed by the ESSM.

“The design of our SSDS enabled seamless integration of the sensors and missiles with the CVN 78 combat system during this first-of-its-kind test, proving the ability of the system to defend our sailors,” said Mike Fabel, Raytheon’s SSDS program manager. “This integrated combat system success brings Ford [herself] one step closer to operational testing and deployment.”

Further integrated combat system live fire events will take place during subsequent developmental and operational testing planned for 2019, according to the company.

SSDS is an open, distributed combat management system in service on US carriers and amphibious ships, including CVN, LSD, LPD, LHA and LHD classes. SSDS MK 2 is the premier self-defense system for the US Navy. SSDS is integrated with Raytheon’s Cooperative Engagement Capability for the seamless extraction and distribution of sensor-derived information.