Remote Control System. “We can mount multiple sen-
sors and can conduct multiple tests at the same time,
making the testing events as cost-effective as possible.”
Ken Rees, NSWC Port Hueneme Test Ship Operations
Branch manager, stated that the test ship is “strong
enough to carry very large, heavy radars for testing.”
The test ship’s configuration is changing all the time.
It has been used to test the MK 41 Vertical Launch
System, CIWS, SeaSparrow and the Evolved SeaSparrow
Missile (ESSM), the RAM as well as the SeaRAM version.
The test ship also has been used to test radars such as the
SPS-49A and SPQ-9B, the MK 57 Vertical Launch System
and electronic warfare systems such as the SLQ- 32 AV 3.
The MLD program is applying laser technology to help
surface ships defend against small boat threats.
The platform was used to test the SPY- 3 Multi-Function Radar Engineering Development Module
(EDM) for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer.
The radar test is complete and that system has been
removed, but the test ship will be used to test the DDG
1000 Total Ship Computing Environment EDM.
According to Dean Kimelheim, of the Program
Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO
IWS) and program manager for the Air Warfare Ship
Self Defense (AW SSD) Test & Evaluation Enterprise
Program, “PEO IWS programs — including the SSDS,
RAM and ESSM — gain valuable insight into their sys-
tems performance as a result of SDTS testing. It is
anticipated that [the test ship] will be used in the
future to characterize performance of emerging combat
systems including DDG 1000, LCS [Littoral Combat
Ship] and CVN 78.”
“As a result,” Kimelheim said, the test ship “contin-
ues to play a crucial role in the Navy’s ability to safely
conduct end-to-end testing of existing and emerging
combat and weapon systems.”
In order to see how these defensive sensors and
weapons react during engagements happening very
close to the ship, the SDTS can be operated remotely
from the Test Ship Remote Control Center located
inside the Surface Warfare Engineering Facility at Port
The crew consists of 40 Merchant Marine contractors and civil servants and two military personnel.
During live-fire testing in which targets will come
within 3 nautical miles of the test ship, the crew is
removed by boat and helicopter and the ship navigation, engineering and combat systems are controlled
from the Test Ship Remote Control Center.
“Because there is nobody onboard, we can also use
tactical missiles as targets providing for a more realistic
test event scenario,” Yoshida said.
According to Tim Jones, the test ship project manager, the ship permits “a degree of fidelity not available
During one of its final deployments, the destroyer USS
Paul F. Foster prepares to take on fuel from the Military
Sealift Command ship USNS Rappahannock Oct. 29,
2002. Foster was decommissioned in 2003 and now
serves as the Self Defense Test Ship at the Naval
Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, Calif.
through other means,” and permits testing with real
waves, weather and other environmental factors, along
with actual software and hardware, that cannot always
be realistically simulated. The test ship can be operated
manned or unmanned, in both firing and non-firing
scenarios. The ship, targets and weapons are instrumented, and every target movement and system
response is tracked and recorded.
“We can conduct realistic scenarios without putting
lives at risk,” Jones said.
Besides weapons testing, the ship also is used to
evaluate different types of paints and hull coatings,
radar-absorbent materials and ablative coatings to protect against blast damage from weapon firings, as well
as paints that resist fouling underwater and radar-cleaning technology that removes the hazardous isopropyl alcohol currently being used. ;