Northrop Grumman Gets Go-ahead for US Navy EW Upgrade
The US Navy has approved Northrop Grumman Corp.’s AN/SLQ-32(V) Electronic Surveillance Enhancement (ESE) for low rate initial production. John Young, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, gave the “go-ahead” after ESE met or exceeded all test objectives during its operational assessment. Under a $14.9 M contract from the Naval Sea Systems Command, Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector is upgrading the SLQ-32(V) system at its Goleta, CA facility. ESE is designed as a single-unit replacement for the existing SLQ-32(V) signal processing elements and will be installed on the majority of Navy capital ships. The SLQ-32(V) has been the principal surface ship electronic warfare system since its introduction in 1980. The system provides ships with the capability to intercept and classify threat radars, particularly those on anti-ship cruise missiles. Over time, the radar signal environment has become saturated and emitter characteristics more complex. This has resulted in the need for increased processing capability to continue to support situational awareness. Northrop Grumman designed ESE to provide the technology to maintain this critical self-defense capability. The company also produces and maintains the SLQ-32(V) operational software. The operational program was upgraded to take advantage of new processing technology and to balance system performance with Navy requirements. ESE has been system engineered to provide early warning against anti-ship cruise missiles in a challenging electromagnetic environment. This was accomplished through commercial off-the-shelf technology and Northrop Grumman’s unrivaled experience in radar-pulse processing near the sea surface. This value engineering has resulted in an open design for future upgrades while concurrently improving supportability. ESE is the first step in the Navy’s Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) to address self-defense mission needs. Installing ESE in front-line ships now provides a significant increase in capability. ESE also provides the processing baseline for future SEWIP spiral development functional upgrades to further modernize and upgrade the surface Navy’s electronic warfare capability.