SSDS: Current Versions
SSDS began Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) in 1997 on USS Ashland [LSD 48], a Whidbey Island Class amphibious assault ship. It will be added as a refit to other vessels, and qualification of the SSDS Mk 2 MOD 1 was completed on the USS Ronald Reagan [CVN 76] carrier in March 2003. Variants of the SSDS system are deployed on a number of CVN-68 Nimitz Class super-carriers, as well as some LSD-41 Whidbey Island Class amphibious assault ships, all LPD-17 San Antonio Class amphibious assault ships (SSDS Mk 2 MOD 2), and some LHD-1 Wasp Class amphibious ships. SSDS will be used across the carrier force, including the newLHA-R escort carriers with secondary amphibious assault roles, and the CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford Class of super-carriers. Finally, components of SSDS have migrated to the future combat systems of the USA’s new Littoral Combat Ships and the 14,500t DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class destroyers.SSDS uses software and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics to turn incoming data from several systems (radar, radar warning receivers, combat identification, electro-optics) into a single picture of prioritized threats. SSDS will then recommend an engagement sequence for the ship’s crew, or (in automatic mode) fire some combination of jamming transmissions, chaff or decoys, and/or weapons against the oncoming threat. The entire ship’s combat system concept, including the sensors and weapons, is known as Quick Reaction Combat Capability (QRCC) – and SSDS is the key element that ties it all together.