Cooperative Engagement Capability

USS Hue City (CG-66), the first United States ship to bear this name and the only ship named after a battle of the Vietnam War, is the twentieth in the Ticonderoga Class of Aegis guided-missile cruisers and the fourteenth to be built by   Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Mississippi. Her keel was laid on 20 February 1989. She was floated on 1 June 1990 and christened on 21 July 1991 by her sponsor, Mrs. Jo Ann Cheatham, the wife of Lieutenant General Earnest C. Cheatham, Jr., USMC (Ret.). Hue City’s standard is the flag of the United States Marine Corps, in addition to the national ensign and the flag of the United States Navy.
      Hue City sailed on 11 March 1993 for her maiden deployment to the Mediterranean Sea as Air Warfare Commander for the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) battle group. Principally operating in the Adriatic Sea, Hue City developed the air picture and transmitted it to command centers afloat and ashore. Hue City also monitored the safety of United Nations relief flights to Bosnia, ensuring Serbian aircraft did not violate no-fly zones.
      While conducting refresher training near Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in April 1994 Hue City was directed to serve as Destroyer Squadron 22 flagship in support of United Nations sanctions against Haiti. Later that year Hue City conducted counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean Sea.
      Hue City sailed for her second deployment 22 March 1995 with the Theodore Roosevelt battle group, again as Air Warfare Commander. Hue City took station in the Red Sea, where she provided air coverage and support to the Combat Air Patrols enforcing the no-fly zone in southern Iraq.
      Hue City sailed for the Baltic Sea on 24 May 1996 to participate in operations involving forty-eight ships from thirteen nations. The operations focused on tracking air, surface and subsurface targets in a multinational task force.
      Hue City deployed on 29 April 1997 to the Mediterranean Sea as Air Warfare Commander for the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) battle group. Hue City operated in the Adriatic Sea, overseeing all air activity in support of naval operations.
      Early in 1998 Hue City received Cooperative Engagement Capability. This capability represents the leading edge of air warfare, enabling Hue City to launch a missile against an enemy target that is being tracked by another vessel.
      Hue City’s awards include the Meritorious Unit Commendation, two Battle Efficiency awards, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, three Sea Service awards, the NATO medal, the CNO Safety Award and three Community Service Awards.
      Hue City is assigned to Commander, Western Hemisphere Group, and is home-ported at Naval Station Mayport, near Jacksonville, Florida.
   The mission of Hue City (CG-66) is to conduct prompt, sustained combat operations at sea in support of a carrier battle group or amphibious assault group. Hue City has been designed to defend against coordinated saturation attacks involving enemy surface ships, submarines, aircraft and missiles. Additionally, Hue City is able to engage in offensive actions against the enemy through employment of long-range anti-shipping missiles, land attack missiles and naval gunfire.
      At the heart of Hue City is the Aegis Weapon System, the most advanced integration of electronic detection, engagement and control equipment in the world today. The Aegis Weapon System, combined with the Vertical Launching System and the SPY radar, allows Hue City to fire more missiles and guide them in flight with greater accuracy than any existing system.
      The Vertical Launching System is capable of firing a mix of missiles against airborne and surface threats. These missiles include the Standard Missile and the Tomahawk cruise missile. The SPY-1B phased array radar sends out beams of electromagnetic energy in all directions continuously to provide a search and tracking capability for hundreds of targets out to and beyond 200 miles. Two 5" gun mounts, Phalanx rapid-fire guns and Harpoon anti-ship missiles supplement the firepower supplied by the Vertical Launching System.
      Hue City also has the most advanced underwater surveillance system available. Anti-submarine warfare equipment consists of a hull-mounted sonar, an acoustic towed array and two SH-60B Seahawk helicopters to provide a long-range detection and attack capability.
      Four powerful, quick-response gas turbine engines give Hue City the ability to reach speeds in excess of 30 knots. This propulsion system is an integral part of Hue City—one of the fleet’s finest Aegis cruisers.
    Early in 1998 USS Hue City (CG-66) received the installation of Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) equipment. CEC brings revolutionary new capability to air defense, not by adding new radars or weapon systems, but by distributing sensor and weapons data from existing systems in a new and significantly different manner. Cooperative Engagement Capability is being developed by Applied Physics Laboratory in conjunction with Lockheed Martin.
     With CEC, data from each unit is distributed to all other units, filtered, and combined using identical algorithms into a single, common air picture. Each CEC unit combines ownship radar measurement data with those from all other CEC units using the same CEC algorithms. The result is an air picture based on all the data available (thus superior to that of any single sensor), providing tracks with identical track numbers throughout the net.
     CEC distributes radar measurement data (not tracks) from each CEC unit to all other CEC units. Units communicate in pairs during short transmit/receive periods through a narrow directional signal. Data is thus sent across the net in near real time and communication is virtually jam-proof. CEC units are able to engage on the basis of CEC composite tracks, even when the firing unit does not hold the track, because CEC provides precision gridlock and fire-control quality tracks.
     CEC improves warfighting capability in amphibious operations by enabling cooperating units to allocate radar energy to different areas of the battle field, enlarging the area of radar coverage. Naval operations conducted in the littoral environment require that attacking aircraft and missiles be detected and engaged over land or over water in the face of heavy land clutter. Search sector cooperation between the defending ships using CEC can significantly increase their detection and track ranges and consequently increase battle space.
      Operating indepently, without CEC, each of the ships must spread its radar energy over the entire volume, limiting the time and energy available to search in the difficult land clutter region. Operating together, with CEC, a single ship can search the entire volume while the other ships concentrate on the land clutter region. Data from each ship are distributed to all the ships and combined into an identical composite track picture on each ship. This picture, superior to that available from any single sensor, allows significantly earlier detection and more consistent track on attackers in the clutter.
      Because CEC combines radar measurement data from all of the ships, the CEC picture covers a larger geographic area than that of any single sensor, providing greatly increased situational awareness and opportunities for tactical coordination. Contributions from CEC-equipped Airborne Electronic Warfare aircraft will extend this coverage even further, providing surface units both more accurate tracking and situational awareness at ranges well beyond shipboard sensor coverage. The airborne CEC also provides for relay of the CEC air picture between widely separated surface units, maintaining connectivity and situational awareness at greatly extended ranges.
      Radar measurement data from CEC air units also greatly increase coverage over land, where the altitude of the airborne radar mitigates terrain masking and radar horizon limitations affecting shipboard radars. CEC provides airborne radars the same improvements in track accuracy, track continuity and ID consistency afforded shipboard radars, resulting in improved detection and tracking as well as greater situational awareness.
      Additionally, CEC contributes to theater ballistic missile defense by providing a continuous fire-control quality track on the missile from acquisition through splash. Although each ship is only able to maintain track for part of the missile flight, the CEC composite track, based on all the data, is continuous. Cues based on the composite track allow the downrange ships to detect the target earlier and to maintain track longer. The CEC cues and relay of composite track data will also allow defending ships maximum battle space in which to engage theater ballistic missiles when the SM-2 Block IVA missile becomes available.
      The concept for CEC was tested on ships of the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) battle group in 1995. Early in 1998 Hue City, USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) and USS Vicksburg (CG-69) received the production installation of CEC and are currently conducting operational tests of the system. Operational evaluation of the system is expected to occur in 2000.