Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) recently awarded Northrop Grumman a $27.6 million modification for options to produce the first two low rate initial production (LRIP) AN/SLQ-32(V)Y Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 3 units.

Brandon White, Northrop Grumman’s director of surface electronic warfare programs, told Defense Daily during an interview at the annual Surface Navy Association symposium in Arlington, Va., that the award marks a pivot point in the SEWIP program, moving from development into production.

The SEWIP Block 3 System on three kinds of naval vessels, from top to bottom: an aircraft carrier, a DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and a DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer. (Image: Northrop Grumman)

White noted that while “this is the culminating block,” the company will also be “fully integrating that with the prior blocks.”

“We’re wrapping up the development phase now and really fielding those first 2 systems will be a major milestone for the system, something we’re very excited about,” White said.

He underscored Block 3 is meant to help the Navy dominate the electromagnetic environment in the long term. “We’re pacing the threat for 30 years, so we are developing capability we believe will pace the threat and really provide that opportunity to operate” wherever it chooses to, White said.

White said the first SEWIP Block 3 units will go on the USS Mustin (DDG-89) with LRIP delivery planned for November 2021. The two units combined give a vessel a 360-degree field of vision.

The Navy awarded the contract on Dec. 21. The department described SEWIP as an “evolutionary acquisition and incremental development program” to upgrade the current AN/SLQ-32(V) electronic warfare system.

The contract announcement noted SEWIP Block 3 will provide “select Navy surface ships a scalable electronic warfare enterprise suite with improved electronic attack capabilities.”

White explained the SEWIP Block III will have an initial mission to target anti-ship missiles, defending against their targeting systems. However, he said it has the capability to extend beyond just anti-ship missile targeting systems, with a longer term capability for the overall electromagnetic domain.

Northrop Grumman promotion materials show the system jamming anti-ship missiles so they miss a naval target and also help decoy missiles take the place of a ship signature.

The company noted while this system will first be installed on a DDG-51 it can be integrated on several ship classes.

Northrop Grumman spokesman Chad Tragakis said Block III is designed to be modular, “so it can be scaled up and down in physical size as well as in power consumption.”