The Navy is fielding the highly automated Ship Self-Defense System to aircraft carriers and to the Whidbey Island, Wasp, and San Antonio classes of amphibious assault ships. The SSDS is designed to provide a rapid-reaction anti-air defense capability against the high-speed, low-flying antiship missiles now in the inventories of many potentially hostile nations. Raytheon Naval & Maritime Integrated Systems is the prime contractor and systems integrator.
The SSDS program was restructured in late 1998 to produce a new system, designated the SSDS Mk2, with the goal of achieving a higher level of overall interoperability among combat-systems elements than was possible with the previous configuration.
The new SSDS architecture will be based on the integration of the SSDS Mk1 system, already installed aboard the Whidbey Island-class amphibs. The SSDS Mk1, the first combat system based on a distributed open-system processing architecture to be installed on Navy ships, is based primarily on the use of commercially developed processing and network technology.
The SSDS Mk2 system will be fielded in three variants. A unique configuration, designated Block 0, has been installed on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The Block 0 system will interface with CEC systems and will use functions of an older combat system -- the Block 1 Advanced Combat Direction System (ACDS) -- for command support, air control, tactical datalink control, and other functions. The ACDS will be phased out beginning with Mk2 SSDS Block 1 units in the fleet as SSDS Mk2 is installed.
The SSDS Mk2 Mod 1 system, which is considered the "foundation" system, is being designed for the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), and subsequently will be installed on the Navy's other carriers and the Wasp-class amphibs. In November 2002 the Mod 1 system went through successful testing against several target profiles at the Surface Combat Systems Center, Wallops Island, Va. Raytheon will continue factory qualification trials on the system prior to more demanding testing at Wallops to be followed by ship installation and sea trials.
The SSDS Mk2 Mod 2 configuration is targeted for the San Antonio-class LSDs. The Block 2 will differ from the Block 1 primarily in the number of weapon and sensor interfaces.
The Mk1 and Mk2 systems are based on the integration of shipboard air-defense sensors and weapons with a redundant "distributed" processor architecture and the UYQ-70 advanced display system, which is based on COTS technology.
In the SSDS architecture, each weapon and sensor incorporated into the system is linked to a LAN access unit (LAU). The LAUs are networked with the SSDS LAN and to the display suite, which includes a three-position command table. The display suite and the command table are based on the UYQ-70 display processor.
The SSDS Mk1 weapons configuration consists of the RIM-116A Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM Block 0 or Block 1) and the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), both of which are used for terminal defense against antiship missiles. The SSDS Mk1 sensor configuration consists of the SLQ-32 electronic warfare system, the SPS-49A, the SPS-67, and the Phalanx radars. The SSDS Mk2 configuration with CEC adds additional radars and a "re-architectured" NATO Sea Sparrow missile system.
With acknowledgements to Edward J. Walsh and Integrated Combat Systems.