| June 24, 2002|
For Immediate Release
APL-Developed DoD Capability Approved for Production and Deployment
The Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), originally conceived by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., reached a significant milestone recently when the Department of Defense announced its approval for fleetwide acquisition and fielding of the ship-based capability. The airborne-based version of the system was approved for limited production during 2002-2003 in order to conduct early testing and training.
CEC passed its operational evaluation, the Navy's final assessment of the system, last fall. The Navy expects the fleet to be fully equipped with the sea-based systems by 2008.
CEC enhances a battle group's war-fighting capability by fusing measurements from a network of ship-, aircraft- and land-based sensor systems into a single, integrated air picture available to all ships and aircraft within the group. CEC extends the range of countering cruise missile threats to the maximum possible distance, providing more time to engage difficult threat aircraft and missiles.
"This is an exciting moment for APL and the multi-organizational CEC team," says Conrad Grant, programs manager within the Laboratory's Air Defense Systems Department and former APL CEC program manager. "It's rewarding to see an APL-conceived system making its way to such a pivotal role in the Navy architecture. Our long history of involvement with the CEC program positions us to help the Navy enhance the system. Our technical expertise and understanding of sensor development and integration are especially critical in helping the Navy decide how to enhance this network-centric warfare capability that provides war fighters with critical information."
As the initial version of CEC transitions into production APL, as the program's Technical Direction Agent, is focusing on evaluating enhancements to the system, helping the Navy determine its future vision, and working on advanced research. Some of the Laboratory's current endeavors include concept development for less-expensive antennas, lower-cost radios and cooperative engagement processors to make the system smaller, more capable and more cost effective. APL is also working with industry and other Navy laboratories to expand the size of the network and develop the next set of concepts and capabilities, including a method to better identify and differentiate between friendly and hostile aircraft.
Initial testing of some of the next-generation capabilities, such as satellite-based communications, is underway. Such capabilities are expected to become part of the next CEC block upgrade in the 2005 timeframe.
More than a Decade of Sensor Integration Efforts at APL
The CEC system is a major success in a long history of sensor integration efforts at APL. The Laboratory has played an active role in the CEC program from its beginning. APL conceived the program and began its development in 1987, drawing on studies and critical experiments conducted by the Laboratory over the previous decade. APL defined the CEC architecture and equipment and determined what modifications needed to be made to existing combat systems. In 1989, APL set up test equipment throughout the Laboratory to simulate separate ships. Full-scale development of the system was authorized in 1990 after a successful shipboard demonstration.
APL designed two of the primary CEC components: the Cooperative Engagement Processor, CEC's core element that collects and integrates sensor data from all battle group units; and working with Raytheon E-Systems, the Data Distribution System to circulate information among battle group components. .
Throughout the life of the program and the various phases of testing, APL has served as Technical Direction Agent for CEC, assisting the Navy in defining operational requirements, participating in proof-of-concept demonstrations, evaluating contractor-proposed system designs, and analyzing system performance as measured in developmental tests.
The Laboratory also served as test conductor for CEC exercises, directing testing from the individual CEC element level through large-scale, at-sea fleet tests of the system.
APL's work on the CEC program earned the Laboratory the Navy Award of Merit for Group Achievement, the Navy's highest institutional award. .
"From the invention of the proximity fuze six decades ago to development of the technology intensive CEC system, APL has been applying its science and technology expertise to help the Navy and other services conquer critical challenges in air defense," concludes Grant.
The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.