For the first time ever, Raytheon’s Ship Self Defense System established a digital air connection between a sea-based ship and an airborne F-35B aircraft.
Raytheon say that the demonstrations prove the system’s ability to share digital tactical data from an F-35B across a deployed Expeditionary Strike Group.
This capability, also referred to as Link 16 Digital Air Control, or DAC, provides tactical, wireless integration between surface ships and aircraft, enhancing mission effectiveness through expanded situational awareness and interoperability. Shared data between surface ships and aircraft can include:
- detected targets
- mission assignment and engagement status exchange (without voice communication)
- aircraft status information, such as fuel levels or weapons inventory
“Information is key for any Commander – and shared information from multiple sources and vantage points extends our battlespace and our advantage over enemy threats” said U.S. Navy Captain Danny Busch, Program Executive Office – Ship Self Defense System.
“Now with the ability to link our sensors and weapons, from sea and air, SSDS is providing a level of interoperability and defensive capability never before available to the Expeditionary fleet.”
Working together with the US Navy, Raytheon modified the current SSDS baseline (MK 2) to establish the DAC interface.
The company say that in just under 18 months, the capability was developed, tested and delivered to the USS WASP – and successfully demonstrated. Now proven, other SSDS MK 2-equipped ships will be upgraded to include the Link 16 DAC capability.