The electromagnetic spectrum has become an increasingly contested warfighting environment. The proliferation of modern anti-ship missiles has also driven urgent demand for a flexible, mature and integrated electronic warfare (EW) and ship defense system to protect crews against increasingly sophisticated threats at sea. To meet the increasingly hostile operating environment, the Navy needs to dominate the spectrum today to compete and win into the future.

Northrop Grumman began the engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) phase of the SEWIP Block 3 program in late 2015, producing one engineering development model (EDM) for laboratory and land-based testing. The EDM will be delivered to Wallops Island, Virginia for government testing.

The program reached a major milestone when the U.S. Navy awarded the AN/SLQ-32(V)7 (SEWIP Block 3) Follow-On Production contract on Sept. 30. Initially installed on Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the system will also be scalable to other ship classes.

“SEWIP is advancing the art of electronic warfare and is the first system to be fielded on a ship with an inherently multifunction architecture,” said Mike Meaney, vice president, land and maritime sensors, Northrop Grumman. “Both Northrop Grumman and the Navy are working together to achieve the common goal of providing this discriminating capability to the Fleet and we are on track for installation of the first SEWIP Block 3 system in 2021 on an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.”

The company continues to ramp up Block 3 program activities - growing a strong supplier base, increasing staffing and talent development and investing in additional software-defined capabilities. In 2019, Northrop Grumman opened a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art high-bay facility designed specifically for integration and testing of SEWIP Block 3 hardware and software.

The company also continues to invest in adding capability to the AN/SLQ-32(V)7 SEWIP system. The team recently completed a demonstration of an advanced suite of communications capabilities. Designed to enable high bandwidth communications across a variety of platforms, this capability can be employed as part of future distributed maritime operations (DMO). The ability to communicate across platforms is essential to maintaining maritime superiority.

Northrop Grumman's capabilities in electronic warfare, full spectrum cyber and electromagnetic maneuver warfare (EMW) span all domains – land, sea, air, space, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. With the invisible battle underway, the electromagnetic spectrum remains a fundamental environment that is just as important as traditional warfighting domains. Our nation and its allies must take back the spectrum in order to have a critical advantage to maintain spectrum dominance.