Lockheed Martin [LMT] officials said they are looking to backfit some features of Aegis Baseline 10 on to earlier models of destroyers and cruisers and separately expect to put its HELIOS system through a production design review (PDR) this year.

Jim Sheridan, head of Lockheed Martin’s Naval Combatants Group, noted while most of Baseline 10 integrates the new Raytheon [RTN] AN/SPY-6(V) air and missile defense radar, the company is trying to integrate it with older Aegis ships.

An Mk 41 VLS launches an SM-6 off the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53). Photo: U.S. Navy.

The company is looking for ways to take Baseline 10 capabilities “that can be brought back to earlier modernized cruisers and destroyers without having to put on the SOY-6 radars,” Sheridan said in a press event ahead of the annual 2019 Surface Navy Association symposium.

“There are capabilities that may not necessarily rely upon the SPY-6 that we can take back with a software-only update to those earlier ships,” Sheridan added.

The Baseline 10 Aegis Combat System (ACS) and SPY-6 radars will be on the new and larger Flight III Arleigh Burke-class DDG-51 destroyers. The changes are meant to help the ship better detect and intercept both missiles and traditional air targets. Flight III ships are larger than the currently produced Flight IIA models, mostly to accommodate the radar’s power and cooling requirements.

The future Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), under construction at the Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., will be the first Flight III DDG-51 and is expected to be delivered in 2021.

Lockheed Martin started its initial design reviews for Baseline 10 two years ago and “we’re probably a good two years away until waterfront testing,” Sheridan said.

The company intends to have Baseline 10 ready in the first Flight III DDG-51 for initial operating capability around 2023.

The company is also trying to make Aegis interoperable with other ship systems, including the new High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS) directed energy system.

Paul Lemmo, vice president and general manager for integrated warfare systems and sensors, said the company plans to put HELIOS through a production design review (PDR) this year.

HELIOS consists of a high energy laser weapon to target Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and small boats, integrated long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems, and a counter-UAS dazzler capability.

The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $150 million contract to develop two HELIOS systems in early 2018: one integrated into a DDG-51 and one menat ofr land-based testing (Defense Daily, Feb. 2).

Artist rendering of Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS laser weapons system. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

However, in October, the FY 2019 NDAA stated no funds were authorized for more than one HELIOS system per fiscal year without the Secretary of the Navy first submitting a report detailing a contracting strategy, system elements, and acquisition strategy.

Lockheed Martin plans to fully integrate HELIOS on a ship and AEGIS, not merely bolt it on to the deck. Aegis would then do the target-weapon pairing, direct the system, and conduct the kill assessment.

The company argued the directed energy system provides commanders with a useful and affordable tool.

“The beautiful thing about the laser weapon system and why folks are so excited about it, it gives you an infinite magazine, you’re never going to go Winchester with HELIOS onboard. Additionally, if you look at the cost per kill ratio, that’s pretty significant,” Sheridan said.