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Navy SSDS and RAM Block 2: Closing the Fire Control Loop

By NAVSEA Office of Corporate Communications | May 26, 2016

WASHINGTON - In an effort to strengthen naval power at and from the sea, Rear Adm. Jon Hill, Program Executive Officer for Integrated Warfare Systems (IWS), advocated the importance of systems engineering and "the power that comes from a full-on integration of those systems [through] cooperative engagement modes" during a panel discussion at the Navy League's Sea Air Space exhibition, May 17.


A recent example of such integration occurred when the U.S. Navy successfully validated significant progression in the Fire Control Loop Improvement Process (FCLIP) program through a live-fire test involving the Ship's Self Defense System (SSDS) and Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Guided Missile Weapons System at Point Mugu, California, in April.


FCLIP is designed to improve coordination across all elements of the overall SSDS to accurately detect, control, and engage targets, and represents an evolutionary improvement to the SSDS through increased precision fire control and precision engagement to close the fire control loop.


"FCLIP is an essential pacing activity and will help keep or carriers and amphibs safe in dangerous places," said U.S. Navy Capt. Danny Busch, SSDS Major Program Manager. "Through selected near-term upgrades, FCLIP is the first phase of a multi-phase approach which will allow those ships to defeat real world anti-ship cruise missile threats by means of planned incremental updates."


During the live fire test, the SSDS, using the RAM Guided Missile Weapons System, MK 49 Launcher and the Block 2 missile, successfully engaged and killed a pair of supersonic, maneuvering, sea-skimming targets designed to represent  current  anti-ship  missile threats. 


The test was the second successful integrated combat systems firing event against this surrogate threat accomplished by the shipboard air search radars and surface to air missiles found on U.S. Navy amphibious ships.  The integrated combat system is comprised of the SSDS Mk 2 Mod 4B, SPS-48, SPS-49, SPQ-9B, SLQ-32, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, and the RAM Block 2 missile.


This test also represented the eighth successful RAM Block 2 live fire test supporting its Developmental and Operational (DT/OT) requirements since 2013. 

"The RAM Guided Missile Weapons System continues to meet operational performance requirements," said U.S. Navy Captain Craig Bowden, RAM Major Program Manager.  "As the last missile line of defense for US warships, RAM Block 2 performance as part of the overall SSDS has proven it will defend our ships against the most stressing maritime threats."


Currently, RAM protects over 50 U.S Navy platforms including carriers, littoral combat ships, amphibious ships and most recently USS Porter (DDG 78).


The RAM Block 2 missile has been in Low Rate Initial Production in the U.S. since 2012 with first deliveries by Raytheon to the U.S. Navy in June 2014.  The U.S. Navy achieved RAM Block 2 Initial Operational Capability (IOC) with the deployment of RAM Block 2 missiles aboard the USS ARLINGTON (LPD 24) in May 2015. Full rate production is expected by next year.


Program Executive Office (PEO) Integrated Warfare Systems, an affiliated PEO of the Naval Sea Systems Command, manages surface ship and submarine combat technologies and systems and coordinates Navy enterprise solutions across ship platforms.


For more information on PEO IWS's role in supporting Navy cooperative engagement programs you can view the full panel discussion at