The US Navy has awarded a $267m contract to Northrop Grumman to upgrade its electronic warfare package for surface warships.

The company will be responsible for preliminary work on the third batch of updates to the navy’s AN/SLQ-32(V)Y surface electronic warfare improvement programme (SEWIP) block three system, through a modular, open-system approach.

Reuters reported navy spokesperson commander Thurraya Kent as saying that the programme will provide enhanced electronic warfare capabilities for early detection, analysis, threat warning and defence from anti-ship missiles.

"The programme will provide enhanced electronic warfare capabilities for early detection, analysis, threat warning and defence from anti-ship missiles."

Kent said: "[The upgrades] will provide a common electronic attack capability to US Navy cruisers, destroyers, aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships."

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By GlobalData

The initial SEWIP block one upgrade was targeted at addressing outdated parts and involved a unique signal intercept. Block two enhanced the electronic support potential.

The Raytheon-built AN/SLQ-32(V) aims to provide early warning of enemy threats while initiating decoy engagements to defeat attacks by guided weapons.

Raytheon claims that the system can detect aircraft search-and-target radars earlier than they spot the ship. Its rapid response time is used for jamming protection to thwart long-range targeting of the vessel and to mislead missiles.

Meanwhile, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson was quoted by USNI News as saying: "The Lockheed Martin-Raytheon team will meet with the US Navy to better understand their selection decision regarding SEWIP block three.

"We stand behind our affordable and innovative solution and remain fully committed to increasing the US Navy’s surface ship electronic attack capabilities."