The US Navy has received final proposals from Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon for its combat system engineering agent (CSEA) contract under the Aegis Weapon System modernisation programme.

According to the proposals, each company has offered to provide combat system engineering services for a follow-on system to Aegis, including design, development, integration, test and life cycle support for Aegis-equipped ships.

The new CSEA contract is intended to enhance air and missile defence capabilities of the existing Aegis weapon system and create a new system for DDG 51 on Flight III destroyers, beginning in 2016, to help warfighters respond to advancing threats.

Designed to defend against airborne threats, the Aegis weapon system is a surface-to-air integrated weapons platform and is also used by the navy as a tactical radar defence and fire-control system.

The Aegis system seamlessly integrates radars, computers and weapons and was first developed to counter massed attacks by Soviet anti-ship missiles.

Aegis-equipped ships are multimission surface combatants that can simultaneously attack land targets, submarines and surface ships while automatically implementing defenses to protect the fleet against aircraft and missiles.

The Aegis CSEA contract is likely to be awarded by the US Navy in fall 2012.

Currently, 100 Aegis-equipped ships are in service around the globe and have launched more than 3,800 missiles in tests and real-world operations to date.

The Aegis weapon system is fielded on US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers cruisers and DDG Arleigh Burke-Class destroyers and is also the weapon system of choice for Australia, Japan, Norway, the Republic of Korea and Spain.