Projects   /   Completed

S2385 — Continuous Wave Illuminator Transmitter Upgrade

PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: June 2012 to January 2019


The radar transmitter used in the Aegis MK 99 fire control system (FCS) operates in conjunction with other components to provide radiated energy for semi-active homing of the assigned missile. The transmitter contains equipment to generate and amplify the stable continuous wave (CW) microwave signal to the required output power level. The current design for this has an unacceptably low mean time between critical failure (MTBCF) and has adversely affected both combat readiness and support costs for the DDG 51 Class destroyers.

The objective of this ManTech project was threefold. The first objective was to develop a solid-state transmitter that will provide the Navy with a higher availability, lower cost-of-ownership open architecture MK 99 Illuminator Transmitter that allows upgrades for new technologies and capabilities over the lifetime of a naval program. The second objective was to develop and implement new manufacturing technologies in critical subassemblies to reduce system cost. The third objective was to ensure continued production cost affordability to the Navy.


Analysis of the design associated with this ManTech effort concluded that the backfit-compatible GaN-based MK 99 transmitter upgrade will result in a 50-percent reduction in acquisition cost ($2M target) and a greater than 39 times improvement in the mean time between critical failure (MTBCF). The open architecture accommodates the easy spiral insertion of the evolving Solid-State Power Amplifier (SSPA) and power supply technology, and the open software and hardware architecture supports rapid technology refresh and increased performance. The open architecture supports future cutting-edge, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies, including analog devices, processors, and accelerators. Evaluation of potential alternate COTS devices through simulation of the SSPA will reduce the risk associated with a single source of supply for the GaN-based X-band power amplifier MMIC contained in the SSPA modules and ensure continued production cost affordability to the Navy.


The ManTech transition event was to occur with the successful completion of design verification testing of the engineering design model (EDM) at the Raytheon facility, and the delivery of the EDM hardware, software, associated special test equipment, and the Technical Data Package. However, due to the combination of issues experienced during testing, exhaustion of funding, and the end of the project period of performance, design verification testing was not completed in order to demonstrate operational success of the upgraded CW Illuminator Transmitter. The design verification testing will be included as part of the follow-on NAVSEA contract with Raytheon and IWS-1, including the separately funded Qualification Tests and Limited Rate Initial Production phases of the program.

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