WASHINGTON - The Navy marked a unique milestone last week
with the activation of Aegis Combat Systems on both the oldest, and the newest
DDG 51 class destroyers.
The future USS John Finn (DDG 113) achieved "light
off" of its Aegis Combat System on Sept. 8, at the Huntington Ingalls
Industries (HII) shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss, while USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)
achieved light off on Sept 5 as part of the DDG Modernization program combat
systems upgrade at BAE in Norfolk.
Although Arleigh Burke was commissioned in 1991 and John
Finn will commission 25 years later in 2016, they have virtually the same Aegis
Weapon System and warfighting capabilities. Both ships will have the Aegis
Baseline 9 program which includes an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD)
capability incorporating Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) 5.0 and Naval
Integrated Fire Control - Counter Air (NIFC-CA). The Aegis baseline 9 IAMD destroyers have
increased computing power along with radar upgrades that improve detection and
reaction capabilities against modern AAW and BMD threats. The Aegis Combat
System light off tests ensure all of the installed equipment is operational and
"Today is the day John Finn goes from being a ship
to a warship" said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager,
Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "Our industry partners, Huntington
Ingalls and Lockheed Martin, have both worked very hard to achieve this
important milestone on time. I looked forward to completion of the ship's test
program and taking John Finn to sea next spring. We are one step closer today
to delivering John Finn's critical warfighting capability to the fleet."
John Finn is the 63rd Arleigh Burke class destroyer, the
first DDG 51 Flight IIA "restart" ship and is the first
new-construction destroyer equipped with the Baseline 9 version of the Aegis
Combat System. The ship is expected to deliver to the Navy in 2016.
USS Arleigh Burke is currently undergoing an extensive
Extended Selected Restricted Availability for combat systems modernizations as
part of the DDG modernization program. The ship will also receive the AN/SQQ-89
A(V) 15 sonar suite, providing a significant upgrade in anti-submarine
capability and upgrades to support the MH-60 helicopter. USS Arleigh Burke is
expected to rejoin the Fleet in 2016.
"The DDG 51 new construction and modernization
programs continue to leverage common processes and equipment buys to greatly
increase capability while reducing configuration variance across the
Fleet," stated Capt. Ted Zobel, program manager for surface ship
modernization in NAVSEA's directorate for surface warfare (SEA 21).
The Aegis Baseline 9 delivers modularization of computer
program functions and includes the replacement of original Military
Specification (MILSPEC) computing infrastructure with a network-based, open
architecture computing environment.
Aegis Baseline 9C DDG variant delivers critical new capabilities,
including Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), Naval Integrated Fire
Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA), and Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Surface-to-Air
Missiles. Aegis Baseline 9 also delivers important affordability with
implementation of the Aegis Common Source Library software code based, Common
Track Manager/Common Track Server software components, Common Processor System
and Common Display System.
"The Aegis Baseline 9 Systems Engineering and
Development effort to deliver full Integrated Air and Missile Defense as well
as Integrated Fire Control, rivals the original Aegis computer program and
computing infrastructure development in complexity in order to assure access
through sea control and power projection in the toughest warfighting
environments," explained Capt. Tom Druggan, Aegis Combat Systems program
When operational, these multi-mission surface combatants
will serve as an integral player in global maritime security, engaging in air,
undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense as well as increased
capabilities in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface
The Naval Sea Systems Command directorate for Surface
Warfare (NAVSEA 21) oversees comprehensive lifecycle modernization programs to
ensure ships are primed and ready for tasking in the most sustainable, cost
efficient manner. Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS)
is charged with the mission to develop, deliver and sustain operationally
dominate combat systems to the United States Navy. PEO Ships is responsible for
executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships,
special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.