Navy changes plans for radar on DD(X) warships

The Navy's $2.9 billion, DD(X) networked warships program will use S-Band radar systems, rather than L-Band radar, which the service originally planned to use on the next-generation warships, the Navy announced this week.

S-Band radar operates at a higher frequency and will improve the ships' capability to track aircraft and missiles.

"The decision effectively creates a radar road map for the Navy which draws on extensive, successful experience with S-Band on Aegis,' John Young, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said in a statement. The Aegis radar system is connected to computers to detect attacks and coordinate responses. The S-Band radar system will provide 'enhanced capability for DD(X) as well as a future growth path," Young said.

The Navy initiated a contract modification with lead DD(X) contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. to change the radar plan, but the move is not expected to affect the major milestones of the program. Over the next three years, Northrop's Ship Systems sector and subcontractors Raytheon Co. and United Defense LP of Arlington, Va., will design, build and test about a dozen engineering models for the Navy's next-generation destroyer.

The Navy plans to award the construction contract for DD(X) in 2005 for delivery in 2011, officials said.

During the design phase, contractors will include a layout for integrated combat systems and automated workstations so sailors will be able to connect with submarines, aircraft and satellites to collect information, Navy officials said. DD(X) ships also will have PCs with Internet connections in sailors' quarters.

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