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Air and Missile Defense: More than Two Decades of Sensor Integration Efforts at APL

The CEC (Cooperative Engagement Capability) system is a major success in a long history of sensor integration efforts at APL. It’s a network of ship-, aircraft- and land-based sensor systems that merges netted radar information to form a common tactical picture of all participating platforms. CEC makes it possible to create a single integrated air picture so that joint forces commanders have a common view of the air battle arena.

CEC is operational in more than 70 combatants and air early-warning units in the fleet. It provides a high-speed, secure, weapons-linked network interconnecting our sensors and air defense systems across the battle force. It develops the most accurate picture of the air space possible and helps to ensure that our weapons systems have the precise, continuous targeting necessary for defense.

APL has played an active role in the CEC program from its beginning. The Laboratory conceived the program and began developing it in 1987, drawing on studies and critical experiments it had conducted over the previous decade. APL defined the CEC architecture and equipment and determined what modifications needed to be made to existing combat systems. 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 Joint Sensor Networking, 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.

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