An E-2D will pass target data to an F/A- 18 strike fighter to intercept a hostile aircraft or missile and destroy it.
The second, called the From-the-Sea Kill Chain,
comprises four elements: the Aegis combat system, the
CEC, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye battle management
aircraft and the Standard SM- 6 surface-to-air missile.
The SM- 6 is a significant advance over its predecessors. Being developed and built by Raytheon, it will
marry the SM- 2 airframe with the seeker head of the
company’s AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, which has a semi-active homing capability
that will enable the new missile to acquire and intercept targets outside the range of the Aegis radars.
The SM- 6 “still can receive information from [Aegis
radar] in the uplink but has the ability to autonomously fly out and find targets that it has been designated to
go out and kill,” said Stan Schroeder, senior manager
for theater defense programs at Lockheed Martin
Sensors and Systems in Moorestown, N.J.
“When the missile has the ability to go autonomous,
it can fly over the horizon, down low — we like to say,
‘far and away and around the corner,’” he said. “We
have a missile [with] very good capability; this allows
us to take full advantage of those long legs.”
Raytheon is prime contractor for the CEC and
Lockheed Martin is maker of the E-2D’s sophisticated
ADS- 18 electronically steered radar.
The E-2D itself, built by Northrop Grumman, will
enter service in 2011. Able to track targets far inland,
the E-2D will enable a task force to manage hundreds
of tracks and provide early warning and engagement of
hostile air threats in a cluttered environment.
The From-the-Sea Kill Chain will be fielded in 2014
with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group,
after the carrier emerges from its midlife refueling and
comprehensive overhaul. It is designed to be especially effective in maintaining a defense shield over friendly forces, especially in a cluttered littoral environment
and against land-launched cruise missiles.
The third NIFC-CA component, the From-the-Land
Kill Chain, is the least developed of the three.
Carr said the Marine Corps is interested in incorporating its air-defense network in the From-the-Land
Kill Chain once the Corps completes an assessment of
vehicle-based air defense elements.
Carr said that although a real-world event, such as
the Hezbollah missile strike against an Israeli corvette
last summer, “adds to the sense of urgency … we
already have a very good capability to defend against
cruise missiles for a local sea battle like that.”
An industry consortium including the prime contractors involved in systems linked to NIFC-CA —
Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon
— has been engaged in a study under the Navy’s pro-
The guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill and two other
ships fire Standard Missile- 2 (SM- 2) surface-to-air missiles
during a live-fire exercise near San Diego. An SM- 6 variant of
the missile, now under development, will be able to acquire
and intercept targets outside the range of the Aegis radars.
gram executive office for Integrated Warfare Systems
to define the capability of NIFC-CA, work out the
modeling and simulation for the system design and
analysis and figure out how to test the capability.
“They’re engaged in trying to figure out what’s the
smart way to test this capability for the lowest cost so
that when [NIFC-CA] goes out on the Lincoln strike
group, everybody has high confidence that it will work
the way it’s supposed to work,” Schroeder said.
NIFC-CA is a building block for a concept called Joint
Integrated Fire Control involving other components to
improve the situational awareness of all users. A further
goal is to improve the service’s “weapon-sensor pairing,”
thereby optimizing the use of any given weapon with any
given sensor, including sensors operated by other services,
The Navy has been working with other services to
integrate their sensors and weapons into Joint
Integrated Fire Control, but the effort is moving forward with mixed success.
Carr said the Navy currently has no direct CEC interface with the Air Force regarding joint fire control,