Australian destroyers demonstrate Cooperative Engagement Capability

Royal Australian Navy's second destroyer NUSHIP Brisbane was joined by sister ship HMAS Hobart as she departed the Osborne wharf April 5, 2018, during the second phase of sea trials. Photo: AWD Alliance

Royal Australian Navy air warfare destroyers recently became the first non-US assets to successfully demonstrate the new Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) which expands the ships’ battlespace awareness by sharing sensor data among a network of CEC-equipped ships and aircraft.

Over the past few weeks off the coast of South Australia, recently-commissioned destroyer HMAS Hobart and future HMAS Brisbane (the ship is still on trials), tested the CEC, combining radar and fire control data into a common picture and allowing one ship to engage an adversary based on the other ship’s data.

The announcement came after US defense contractor Raytheon announced in December 2017 that the CEC systems were completed and ready for their first international installation. In the US, the CEC is currently deployed on ships and land-based test sites, E-2C/D aircraft, and US Marine Corps network systems.

Cooperative Engagement Capability is one technology that will form a part of the Australian Joint Integrated Fires Capability being implemented in the Australian Defence Force.

Australian defense minister Marise Payne, congratulated the Royal Australian Navy and the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance on reaching this important milestone.

“The new Cooperative Engagement Capability is a significant step-change for Australia as we face increasing threats from cruise missiles and advanced aircraft,” minister Payne said.

“Together Hobart and Brisbane bring revolutionary air defense capabilities – not by adding new radars or weapon systems, but by utilising existing sensors and weapons in a more effective manner.

“In the coming years, the Australian Joint Integrated Fires capability will link our ships, aircraft and land-based assets to create an increasingly sophisticated air defence network that can see over the horizon.”

“This new capability will provide Australian and United States warships the ability to share targeting data in real time. This means a combat system can engage a target that it otherwise could not see, by using data from another warship’s sensors,” Minister Payne said.

The Australian government is planning to integrate the CEC into other ADF capabilities, including the E-7A Wedgetail aircraft and the Integrated Air and Missile Defence program.

The CEC will also be integrated into the Future Frigate’s Aegis combat management system together with the Saab Australia developed interface and the CEAFAR phased array radar.

“When NUSHIP Brisbane joins her sister ship, HMAS Hobart, in the fleet later this year, it will mark the beginning of a new era for air defense in Australia and our partners,” minister Payne said.

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