USS Lake Champlain

The US Navy’s eleventh Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, USS Lake Champlain, has successfully completed the light-off test of its upgraded periscope detection and discrimination (PDD) capability for the AN/SPQ-9B anti-ship missile defence radar.

An upgraded PDD capability boosts the ship’s functionality in detecting submarines to support the navy’s efforts in anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The AN/SPQ-9B radar set is an X-Band, pulse Doppler, frequency agile radar that scans the horizon and performs automatic air and surface target detection, and tracks low flying anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), surface threats, and low / slow flying aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and helicopters.

“We are eager to move forward with delivery of this upgrade to the fleet to improve their warfighting capability.”

The delivery of this system demonstrated the navy’s efforts to develop a periscope detection mode for the AN/SPQ-9B radar and the collaborative efforts of the Office of Naval Research, the Naval Research Laboratory, and Naval Surface and Expeditionary Warfare Command.

USS Lake Champlain is currently undergoing live-fire testing off the California coast, engaging its 5in guns to assess the new mode on the SPQ-9B capability.

The crew of the vessel is scheduled to undergo operator training to enhance their skills with the upgraded system.

Integrated warfare systems (PEO IWS) programme executive officer rear admiral Jon Hill said: "We are eager to move forward with delivery of this upgrade to the fleet to improve their warfighting capability."

USS Lake Champlain measures 173m long and displaces approximately 9,600t. It is propelled by four General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines and can achieve a speed of more than 30k.

The ship supports two SH-60 Sea Hawk aircraft, and is equipped with Mk 41 VLS for standard missiles, Tomahawk, ASROC; Mk 46 torpedoes, harpoon missile launchers, two Mk 45 5in/54 calibre lightweight guns, two Phalanx CIWS, two Mk 38 Mod 2 25mm machine gun systems.

Image: USS Lake Champlain during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014 exercise. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon Renfroe/Released.