CEC includes a Cooperative Engagement Processor and a data distribution system with an integral antenna array. The self-forming
network, transmitting and receiving simultaneously, takes the various
received sensor data, fuses that data into one composite track.
That one track is a much better track than any the individual sensors can
have on their own just by getting various looks of the same object at different
geometries. Any one sensor could have jamming problems or horizon or
weather limitations. The data distribution system takes that one composite
track and provides it to each one of the cooperating units, the platforms in
theater that have CEC. They have the same track at the exact same time.
CEC has evolved significantly since those early days. What was once
the size of a double-wide refrigerator is now the size of a microwave oven.
The Navy ran a build-to-print competition for the signal data processor
[SDP] and Sechan Electronics, a small business in Lititz, Pa., is doing an
excellent job building the SDP at a fraction of the cost of the first-gen CEC
system. In the beginning, the shipboard CEC had a cylindrical array antenna called Shipboard Active Aperture, state of the art at the time, liquid
cooled. With a cylindrical array, 360-degree coverage was a challenge, with
dual-antenna configurations required on some platforms.
Beginning in the early 2000s, we fielded the next-generation antenna, a
planar array active aperture antenna, which has four faces that you can
separate. It provided increased reliability and significant savings in acquisition, installation and support costs.
Now we are integrating the latest CEC variants, the USG-2B and USG-
3B, on ships and aircraft, respectively. We’re in the process of developing
the next-generation CEC antenna, the Common Array Block [CAB] antenna, for expeditionary and shipboard applications, so we call it the CAB-E/S. The gallium nitride MMICs [Monolithic Microwave Integrated
Circuits] allow the antenna to be air cooled as opposed to the liquid
cooling. The CAB will also be more reliable and maintainable.
Engaging for 20 Years
The Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) was developed as a
sensor-netting system that integrates
target tracks into a high-quality situational awareness and fire-control
capability. The CEC makes it possible for multiple cooperating units,
such as air-defense ships, radar early
warning aircraft and ground air
defense sites, to form an air defense
network by sharing radar target
measurements in real time.
Raytheon has delivered more than
150 CEC systems, which are
installed on more than 100 U.S.
Navy ships and 40 E-2C Hawkeye
and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye
radar early warning aircraft. CEC
also is a component of the Marine
Corps’ Composite Tracking Network (CTN). The contract awards
to date total more than $1 billion.
Raytheon currently is scheduled to
deliver 15 more CEC systems.
Work on the CEC began in the
1980s. The operational system
first was installed on ships of the
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier
battle group, which brought CEC
to initial operational capability in
1996. CEC was integrated in the
CTN beginning in the late 1990s.
In 2015, USS Theodore Roosevelt
deployed with the Navy Integrated
Fire Control-Counter Air capability, of which CEC is a component.
Pat Speake is director of Integrated
Mission Systems at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.
Two of the Cooperative Engagement Capability’s planar array active aperture
antenna’s four faces are shown in the inset of the top of the mast of the aircraft
carrier USS George Washington, seen here in the Atlantic Ocean Nov. 17.