Surface Forces: December 10, 1999


The US Navy is having a problem with its DD21 Land Attack Destroyer program. The Navy eventually wants 32 ships for about $25 billion. There are two contractor design teams working on the project, the Blue Team (Bath Iron Works, Lockheed Martin, and others) and the Gold Team (Ingalls Shipbuilding, Raytheon, and others). Both have been told to use the long-range cannon developed by United Defense. The problem is the radar. The DD21 is designed to use two radar systems. The Volume Search Radar is designed to locate targets, while the Multi-Function Radar is designed to guide weapons to those targets. And it is the Multi-Function Radar which is the problem. The original concept of the two competing teams was for each to design its own radar and integrate this into the ship. But while one side of the Pentagon was writing that into the DD21 program, another Pentagon office was contracting with Raytheon to design a prototype for the same Multi-Function Radar. Lockheed Martin is now demanding that Raytheon turn over its MFR design so it can work it into the Bath Iron Works hull design. Raytheon is refusing, saying that the Pentagon has only ordered a prototype from them, and may still decide to order competing DD21 radar designs and handing over its design now would give Lockheed Martin an advantage in such a competition. The Pentagon cannot seem to decide if it is going to order both designers to use the Raytheon Multi-Function Radar or order a competition. Complicating the decision is that while the first DD21 won't be ordered until 2004, its Multi-Function Radar will be used on CVN77, which will be at sea years before then. --Stephen V Cole 


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