The CEC is a real-time ‘sensor-netting’ system that brings together radar data into a single integrated air picture from geographically dispersed ships, aircraft and ground-based units. Raytehon said the integrated picture improves task force effectiveness by enabling longer range, co-operative or layered engagements.
In practical terms, the system could allow for the radars of Australia’s AWDs to be used to extend the eyesight of US Aegis equipped ships to shoot down the ballistic missiles of hostile nations.
US Navy Captain Jonathan Garcia, CEC major program manager, Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems 6.0, said the addition of the CEC on the RAN's HMAS Hobart not only marks a milestone for the US system, but will also expand the AWD’s battlespace awareness by sharing sensor data among a network of other Australian and allied CEC-equipped ships and aircraft.
"The addition of CEC is a major building block for Australia in their defence against anti-air warfare threats in the Pacific region," said CAPT Garcia.
"This delivery to Australia marks a significant first – expanding the CEC network globally and increasing the US Navy interoperability with a valued, strategic ally."
The equipment – certified hardware and software – will transfer to Australia for installation on HMAS Hobart and NUSHIP Brisbane over the coming months, followed by an extensive integration, test and evaluation period.
CEC is currently deployed on ships and land-based test sites, E-2C/D aircraft and US Marine Corps network systems, with the system continually evolving, advancing capability and affordability through developments in core technologies.
Raytheon Australia managing director Michael Ward said the upcoming installation of the CEC on the AWDs marks an important milestone for Australia's naval capabilities.
"This is an incredibly important event for Australia because it means that this is the first international release of the capability outside of the United States," Ward said.
"This is a profound statement by the US Navy of the importance of the Australian-United States relationship.
"I am delighted that, as combat system integrator of the Air Warfare Destroyer, Raytheon Australia will play a significant role in the installation, activation and test of this equipment on the first two Air Warfare Destroyers over the coming months. Using the talents of our Sydney workforce we will carry out this work on HMAS Hobart at Garden Island, while our large combat system workforce in Adelaide is undertaking work on the second AWD, Brisbane."
Raytheon has been the sole source provider for CEC since its inception in the mid 1980s.