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Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP)

An electronic countermeasures suite is vital to the layered defenses of surface combatants. The Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) is an evolutionary development block upgrade program for the AN/SLQ-32(V) EW system offering incremental enhancements in capability. Navy surface ships use SEWIP to enhance their AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System anti-ship missile defense, counter-targeting, and counter-surveillance capabilities, as well as to improve the systems ability to collect electronic data.

SEWIP, a spiral-block development program, provides an immediate improvement to the legacy surface ship Electronic Warfare (EW) detection and countermeasures system, the AN/SLQ-32. Since 2003, General Dynamics successfully performed as a Lead Systems Integrator for SEWIP Block 1.

SEWIPs open architecture allows rapid integration of emerging technologies in Anti-ship Missile Defense and EW Situational Awareness. Ship defense remains a top priority of the U.S. Navy due to the proliferation of advanced antiship missiles. Effective platform defense depends on shipboard EW for early detection, location and classification of electronic emitters.

There are currently three established block upgrades and a fourth is planned.

  1. SEWIP Block 1 provides enhanced EW capabilities to existing and new ship combat systems to improve anti-ship missile defense, counter targeting and counter surveillance capabilities. The upgrade addresses obsolescence mitigation through introduction of Electronic Surveillance Enhancements (ESE) and Improved Control and Display (ICAD) as well as incorporation of adjunct receivers for special signal intercept including Specific Emitter ID (SEI) and High Gain/High Sensitivity (HGHS). The SEI and HGHS capability provides improved battlefield situational awareness. The SEWIP Block 1 program is designated as an ACAT II program. Block 1A, Block 1B1, and Block 1B2 are in Full Rate Production. Block 1B3 (HGHS) is in Low Rate Initial Production.

    SEWIP Block 1 improvements focus on the rapid development and fielding of low-risk upgrades which enhance current AN/SLQ-32 warfighting capabilities while resolving critical hardware obsolescence issues residing in the legacy system.

    General Dynamics completed 121 Block 1A and 148 Block 1B1 and 1B2 systems. Block 1A incorporated the updated Improved Control and Display (ICAD) Human Machine Interface and the Electronic Surveillance Enhancements (ESE) upgrade. This updated the obsolete AN/SLQ-32 display and pulse processing with a much-needed refresh based on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. Block 1B1 provided standalone Specific Emitter Identification (SEI) capability, and Block 1B2 integrated SEI into the ICAD environment.

    Since 2013, General Dynamics has been providing SEWIP Block 1B3 systems to the fleet. With 16 systems complete and up 75 systems remaining, SEWIP 1B3 incorporates High Gain, High Sensitivity (HGHS) capability which provides greater detection and identification of threats to U.S. Navy ships.

  2. SEWIP Block 2 provides enhanced Electronic Support (ES) capability by means of an upgraded ES antenna, ES receiver and an open combat system interface for the AN/SLQ-32. The SEWIP Block 2 upgrade incorporates a new antenna system and enhanced processing capabilities, which are intended to improve the AN/SLQ-32s passive electronic support capabilities. These upgrades are necessary in order to pace the threat and improve detection and accuracy capabilities of the AN/SLQ-32. The SEWIP Block 2 program is designated as an ACAT II program. Milestone C was achieved in January 2013 and is in Low Rate Initial Production.

    While preliminary results indicate that the AN/SLQ-32 EWS equipped with the SEWIP Block 2 upgrade appears to provide more capability than the legacy AN/SLQ-32 EWS, the at-sea portion of the IOT&E on USS Bainbridge 2229 August 2014 was inadequate to allow a determination of operational effectiveness.

    The Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force (COTF) conducted the IOT&E of the AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System (EWS), equipped with the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2 upgrade, from August 22 through November 7, 2014, on USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) in the Virginia Capes operating area. Inadequate crew training and proficiency caused the COTF test team to provide operationally unrealistic assistance to the crew, which adversely influenced some test results. These included providing assistance in setting up displays to make threat detection easier to recognize, showing operators which threats needed identification, helping operators identify extraneous emitter contacts, calibrating the system when the operators did not perform the calibration when the system called for it, and resetting the system in the form of unscheduled warm and cold starts.

  3. SEWIP Block 3 provides Electronic Attack (EA) capability improvements required for the AN/SLQ-32(V) system to keep pace with the threat. This block upgrade will provide a common EA capability to all surface combatants outfitted with the active variant of the AN/SLQ-32. SEWIP Block 3 development leverages technology developed under the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Integrated Topside (InTop) Science and Technology (S&T) effort. The SEWIP Block 3 program is designated as an ACAT II program and is currently in the Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase.

    General Dynamics continues as a subcontractor under Northrop Grummans SEWIP Block 3 program, leading and performing Human Systems Integration (HSI) and Training tasks. In this role, General Dynamics supports the design, analysis, interface updates, and design support activities for the SEWIP Block 3 hardware, the integration of Blocks 2 and 3, and Operator and Maintainer software.

  4. SEWIP Block 4 is a future planned upgrade that will provide advanced electro-optic and infrared capabilities to the AN/SLQ-32(V) system.
SEWIP was established as an ACAT II program in July 2002 after cancellation of Advanced Integrated Electronic Warfare System (AIEWS). Through incremental upgrades using an evolutionary acquisition strategy, the AN/SLQ-32(V) is being modernized to mitigate obsolescence and delivery advanced ES and EA capability to the Fleet.

In May 2016 Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully conducted a critical design review (CDR) for the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 3 AN/SLQ-32(V)7 electronic warfare system. The CDR, a key milestone for the program, focused on the detailed design of the electronic attack subsystem that will make up a deployable AN/SLQ-32(V)7 system. The review of the detailed design for the auxiliary support, power, and cooling components as well as shipboard compatibility will be later this year. Two prototypes proving out the final design will be provided to the Navy at the end of the Engineering Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase.

"SEWIP is a truly disruptive technology for our warfighters and we are excited to have completed this important milestone," said Todd Leavitt, vice president of maritime systems, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. "We are working closely with our Navy partners, to deliver this vital capability to our nation's fleet."

The technology represents a quantum leap in the early detection, signal analysis, threat warning and protection from anti-ship missiles. The system enables ships to counter threats non-kinetically, and will be installed on as many as 50 ships identified in the current budget plan.




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