USS Gerald R. Ford Ship Self Defense System aces dual-target test

The US Navy and Raytheon have completed the final developmental test of the Ship Self Defense System, or SSDS, Integrated Combat System for the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).

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

The test took place off the coast of California from the Navy’s unmanned self defense test ship simulating a scenario CVN 78 may encounter once deployed.

During the raid scenario exercise, two anti-ship missile surrogate targets were located, classified, tracked and engaged using the SSDS Integrated Combat System adapted for CVN 78.

The dual-target test follows an earlier test from February this year in which the system successfully engaged an unmanned aerial vehicle target off the coast of California.

Raytheon noted that SSDS ICS for CVN 78 has now successfully engaged three of three targets over the course of its first two test exercises.

“This successful dual-target test demonstrates the maturity of the Ship Self Defense System ICS and paves the way for operational testing to begin,” said Mike Fabel, Raytheon’s SSDS program manager. “SSDS is a critical capability that enables CVN 78 to defend herself and her crew against current and emerging threats.”

The system incorporates dual band radar (DBR), which searched for, located and tracked the targets. DBR then provided uplink and radar illumination to the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile to support missile guidance. Raytheon’s Cooperative Engagement Capability, or CEC, validated and processed the Dual Band Radar data for SSDS. The SSDS then processed the CEC data, classified the targets, determined the appropriate engagement ranges, passed launch commands to the interceptor missiles, and scheduled DBR support for the engagements. The ESSM engaged and defeated both targets using live and simulated interceptors.