Northrop Grumman is conducting research and development to adapt its electronic attack platform — built for the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer — to fit on smaller ships, a company official said.
“We’re also looking at opportunities to scale down the system for smaller ship classes — frigates and smaller — and looking at ways to make a scaled-down version of SEWIP that can be effectively employed and rapidly installed on the smaller ship classes,” Mike Meaney, vice president of land and maritime sensors at Northrop, told C4ISRNET.
Dealing with the Navy and defense contractors, you have to ask yourself what do they mean by “smaller?” Frigate and smaller could mean Littoral Combat Ships which are light on EW capability even compared to larger Coast Guard Cutters.
But I think they might also be considering application to the Light Amphibious Warfare (LAW) ships. These could be about the size of an Offshore Patrol Cutter, but they are expected to be simple and inexpensive, costing only about twice what the Coast Guard is paying for its Webber class Fast Response Cutters. In many ways these look like updates of the WWII Landing Ship Tank design. There is currently no intention to arm them with weapons that would protect against cruise missiles. Electronic Warfare might be their only organic defense against that threat.
Note there is currently no Navy program to build such systems, but if Northorp succeeds in getting Navy funding, it may offer a new EW capability for cutters.
Currently the LCS-27, “Nantucket” is testing the SQL-32(V)6 Block 2 SEWIP, after being launched with the system installed around 7 August 2020. I don’t currently how the test is going, but USN planned fitting out and/or retrofitting existing SSC by sometime in 2023…
Looks like the Offshore Patrol Cutters will be getting the same EW equipment.
LAWs reportedly will get 30mm guns, but I think it would be gross negligence not to also equip them with at least 1 Phalanx CIWS each.
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