Northrop Grumman Corporation's Electronic Systems sector has been awarded a $34 million contract from the U.S. Navy's Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) to adapt the missile tubes of SSBN (fleet ballistic missile submarine) submarines from launching nuclear ballistic missiles to conventional cruise missiles.
The contract, which began in January 2003 and will continue
through December 2004, covers systems development and demonstration of
the Multiple All Up Round Canister (MAC). The reconfigured submarine
will be known as the SSGN (guided missile submarine).
This contract for detailed design and prototype testing
includes options for low-rate initial production leading up to
full-rate initial production of up to four ship sets. If exercised,
these options will bring the total cumulative value of this contract to
more than $150 million.
"Northrop Grumman has been the primary supplier of underwater
launch equipment to SSP since the inception of the ballistic missile
submarine program in the 1950s," said Jim Hupton, vice president of
Northrop Grumman Marine Systems. "Our extensive experience and proven
track record in the underwater launch market is strengthened by teaming
with Electric Boat, the original submarine builder and platform
conversion contractor for the SSGN program."
Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman's Marine Systems
business unit in Sunnyvale, Calif., and at teammate General Dynamics'
Electric Boat facility
in Groton, Conn.
Naval Sea Systems Command
(NAVSEA) has overall responsibility
for the SSGN conversion and has assigned responsibility for the attack
weapons system (AWS) to SSP.
The MAC is a subsystem of the AWS that will replace the
existing Trident ballistic missile launch tubes and provide for the
storage and launch of up to seven TOMAHAWK â missiles from each of the
22 submarine missile tubes. Each SSBN submarine will thus be able to
accommodate as many as 154 precision-guided, conventional land-attack
Northrop Grumman recently completed the DEMVAL phase of the
program, successfully testing, designing and fabricating test equipment
and component risk reduction testing. This phase culminated in a
successful full-scale Tomahawk test launch from an SSBN submarine using
a prototype MAC in January 2003.
In addition to the SSGN mission of land attack, Northrop
Grumman Electronic Systems is also supporting SSGN's other operational
mission, support of Special Operations Forces (SOF) campaigns and
missions. Northrop Grumman's Oceanic and Naval Systems business unit
designs and builds the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS), a
mini-submarine intended to clandestinely carry SOF troops and their
combat gear to and from hostile shores. It is planned that each of the
four SSGNs will be modified to allow two ASDS vehicles to dock,
enabling SOF deployment to littoral theaters worldwide.