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Navy one step closer to adding tool to stop ship-killer missiles

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The U.S. Navy’s Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) system has passed its preliminary design review stage, taking another step closer to full-scale development of a new tool to protect the Navy’s ships from anti-ship missile attacks, prime vendor Lockheed Martin Co. announced Sept. 5.

Identifying Military Threats

The anti-shipping missile threat isn’t new, but it has intensified as both the U.S. and potential adversaries built a “new generation” of such missiles in recent years. These threats are sea-skimming systems, and shouldn’t be confused with missiles that fly in a ballistic arc — that’s a different kind of threat. Some can be very fast — three times the speed of sound or more — while others are long-range and/or capable of evading defensive systems.

New Concept: Extended Protection

The AOEW will ultimately be installed on MH-60 helicopters, built by Lockheed’s Sikorsky unit, which are carried by many Navy ships. The system would give those ships additional protection from incoming missiles designed to destroy them or keep them farther away from hostile shores.

The helicopter-borne AOEW is designed to operate either alone using its own sensors or in coordination with shipboard sensors, also built by Lockheed. The sensor contract has logged nearly $313 million since 2014. Once detected, the AOEW would use radio frequency jamming to defeat the ship-killer missiles. A helicopter-borne system has advantages; it extends the range at which hostile missiles can be detected, increasing the time available to warn the ship’s crew and defeat the missile.

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The post Navy one step closer to adding tool to stop ship-killer missiles appeared first on Bloomberg Government.

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