Raytheon’s Ship Self-Defense System Demonstrates First Link from Surface Ship to Joint Strike Fighter

Wireless Data Integration for Warfighting Advantage

Defence Industry

TEWKSBURY, Massachusetts. For the first time ever, Raytheon Company’s Ship Self Defense System established a digital air connection between a sea-based US Navy ship and an airborne US Marine Corps Joint Strike Fighter F-35B aircraft. The demonstrations proved the combat system’s ability to share digital tactical data from a JSF across a deployed Expeditionary Strike Group, a company press statement said on October 30.

This capability, also referred to as Link 16 Digital Air Control, or DAC, provides tactical, wireless integration between surface ships and aircraft, enhancing mission effectiveness through expanded situational awareness and interoperability. Shared data between surface ships and aircraft can include:

  • Detected targets
  • Mission assignment and engagement status exchange (without voice communication)
  • Aircraft status information, such as fuel levels or weapons inventory

“Information is key for any Commander – and shared information from multiple sources and vantage points extends our battlespace and our advantage over enemy threats,” said US Navy Captain Danny Busch, Program Executive Office – Ship Self Defense System (PEO IWS 10). “Now with the ability to link our sensors and weapons, from sea and air, SSDS is providing a level of interoperability and defensive capability never before available to the Expeditionary fleet.”

Working together with the US Navy, Raytheon modified the current SSDS baseline (MK 2) to establish the DAC interface. In just under 18 months, the capability was developed, tested and delivered to the USS WASP – and successfully demonstrated. Now proven, other SSDS MK 2-equipped ships will be upgraded to include this mission-enhancing Link 16 DAC capability.


Proven and deployed, SSDS is an open, distributed combat management system in service on carriers and amphibious ships, including CVN, LSD, LPD, LHA and LHD classes. SSDS MK 2 is the premier self-defense system for the US Navy. SSDS is integrated with Raytheon’s Cooperative Engagement Capability for the seamless extraction and distribution of sensor-derived information. This further enhances the ship’s anti-air warfare capability through the sharing of available data available to all participating CEC units. CEC improves battle force effectiveness by improving overall situational awareness and thereby enabling longer range, cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies.