The US Navy has awarded a $267m contract to Northrop Grumman to develop and manufacture the next-generation surface electronic warfare improvement programme (SEWIP) Block 3 system.

As part of the contract, the company will provide significant improvements for the shipboard AN/SLQ-32 electronic warfare attack system.

Northrop Grumman Navigation and Maritime Systems Division vice-president and general manager Teri Marconi said: "This is the first simultaneous, multi-mission enabler to be developed and deployed on navy surface ships.

"This is the first simultaneous, multi-mission enabler to be developed and deployed on navy surface ships."

"We are building on our rich heritage of AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar and electronic warfare technology by delivering an affordable system with the improved performance, high reliability, enhanced flexibility and war fighting capability required by the SEWIP.

"We are proud to be the navy’s selected partner to safeguard sailors in defence of freedom for our nation and its allies."

Features of the SEWIP Block 3 solution include active and passive arrays, as well as electronic warfare and communications functions with continuous 360° coverage.

The system has been designed to easily interact with the combat management system, while the multi-mission technology provides unprecedented situational awareness to detect, track and engage threats in high-clutter environments.

The enhancements will be provided through a series of upgrades that will involve the addition of new technologies and capabilities for early detection, signal analysis, threat warning and protection from anti-ship missiles.

In order to better deliver the upgrades for the system, Northrop Grumman will use its expertise in electronic warfare and AESA technology.

Northrop Grumman’s AN/SLQ-32(V) 1 was launched in 1974 and since then the company has served as the prime integrator and has developed and delivered every version upgrade of the system.