The US Navy has awarded a $148.9m contract to Lockheed Martin for full rate production of the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Programme (SEWIP) Block 2 systems.

The contract, with an option for four additional years extension, involves an upgrade to the fleet’s electronic warfare capabilities to enable warfighters to respond to evolving threats.

Under the terms of the contract, additional systems will be provided by the company to upgrade the AN/SLQ-32 systems on US aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other warships.

"The SEWIP Block 2 System is critically important to the navy’s operation."

These systems will have capabilities to determine if the electronic sensors of potential foes are tracking the ship.

Lockheed Martin electronic warfare programme director Joe Ottaviano said: “The SEWIP Block 2 System is critically important to the navy’s operation, and we are proud to continue to provide this capability to the warfighter.

“Threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Our electronic warfare systems give the warfighter information to enable a response before the adversary even knows we’re there.”

The system is fully compliant with the navy’s product line architecture strategy, which aids the introduction of new technology into the fleet.

Block 2 is the latest deployed improvement in an evolutionary succession of blocks pursued by the navy for its shipboard electronic warfare system.

The system provides an upgraded antenna, receiver, as well as an improved interface, with existing ship combat systems.

Lockheed Martin secured the design and development contract for the programme in September 2009.

The company has been awarded a low rate initial production (LRIP) contract for an additional 38 units since then, and 22 of them have been delivered to the navy.

Lockheed Martin will perform the work at its Syracuse, New York facility.

Image: The SEWIP Block 2 System has already been deployed on several Guided Missile Destroyers DDG class ships, including the USS Carney. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.