Cooperative Engagement Capability.

One of the initial claims issued by the United States Navy in regards to the theory of a friendly fire shoot down is that the Aegis ship U.S.S. Normandy was too far away to see the 747.

It turns out that there is currently underway a program to allow the Aegis to engage targets beyond it's own radar horizon by electronically linking to radars on other ships and aircraft, and to employ weapons on remote platforms.

This system is called Cooperative Engagement Capability and allows for the total automation of the fleet defense systems.

In the summer of 1996, five ships where equipped with CEC: USS Eisenhower (CVN-69), USS Anzio (CG 68), USS Cape St. George (CG 71), USS Wasp (LHD-1), USS Lake Erie (CG-70). (Recently, it has been learned that the CEC systems have been removed from USS Lake Erie (CG-70), for reasons unknown.

CEC has been a USN acquisition program since 1992. In early 1994 after a series of preliminary trials, five CEC-equipped ships, including the amphibious assault ship Wasp (LHD-1) and the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, verified the ability of CEC units to construct identical composite tracks and identification pictures independently, using data provided by SPY-1D, SPS-48C, SPS-48E, SPS-49, OY-88 and Mk23 TAS radars.

During 1995, CEC equipment on the Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Anzio, an Aegis-equipped cruiser with the SPY-1D radar, was used to demonstrate the ability of CEC-equipped units to detect, track and engage a theatre ballistic missile (TBM). The missile was detected upon launch by the Anzio's SPY-1D, and data was passed to other CEC-equipped units, which were then cued to acquire the target. CEC data was also made available in real time to a land-based US Army MIM-104 Patriot missile unit and a USMC MIM-23 HAWK battery AN/TPS-59 radar. Versions of CEC equipment are due to be fitted to all USN aircraft carriers and LHD and LHA amphibious assault ships; studies are examining the possible integration of other TBM-defense systems into CEC.

The Aegis-CEC system is being developed at the Aegis Systems Development Centers at Moorestown, New Jersey, and at Wallops Island, Virginia (until recently, claimed to be a purely NASA facility), and at Dam Neck.

This is the Aegis Systems Development Facility at Moorestown, New Jersey (near exit 4 of the Jersey Turnpike). This is the famous "Cruiser in a Cornfield". Note the simulated Aegis ship superstructure complete with phased array radar antennas.

A sunrise view of the Wallops Island facility. Note the simulated Aegis ship superstructure on the right side of the roof of the building.


The following documents are from HTTP://, an official U.S. Navy website.

Perhaps in response to growing public awareness of CEC and it's operational testing in the littoral areas around New York, this website has been recently closed down.

From The Navy Website

[CEC coordinating with Patriot shore battery]CEC coordinating with Patriot shore battery.

[CEC DAM NECK Map]Click to download full size image.(36.4K)

   Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC)
   The Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) program allows the Battle
   Group surface ships and airborne elements to exchange integrated, fire
   control quality information in real time as both an electronic warfare
   countermeasure and an enhanced operating capability. The CEC program
   is actively implementing various aspects of the acquisition reform
   initiatives established by DOD policy. They have used a team approach
   supported by the program office, PEO(TAD)C, the prime contractor,
   E-Systems, the Technical Direction Agent, John Hopkins
   University/Applied Physics Laboratory and the Crane, Dahlgren and Port
   Hueneme Divisions of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. The CEC
   program's team has divided their acquisition reform efforts into three
   major thrusts: (1) Acquisition Streamlining; (2) Transition to a
   "Commercial Baseline"; and (3) Commercial Off-the-Shelf and Non
   Developmental Items (COTS/NDI) . These are all areas strongly
   supported by the Secretary of Defense, Dr. Perry.
   (1) CEC acquisition streamlining efforts concentrated on processes to
   speed up the overall acquisition effort. These included such things
   as: government-contractor teaming; eliminating paper Contract Data
   Requirements (CDRs) through on-line access to contractor data;
   eliminating lengthy paper publishing cycles through direct digital
   data transfer; and aggressively tailoring the DOD 5000.2 requirements
   to reduce the paper CDRs from 6440 to less than 300, a 95% reduction
   with a further reduction of program unique CDRs from 190 to 59.
   (2) To accomplish the transition to a "Commercial Baseline", the CEC
   program rewrote their system specification to a performance
   specification, eliminating specific design requirements. This allowed
   the reduction of MIL-SPECs in the system specification from 45 to 11.
   By incorporating commercial specifications and standards in the
   follow-on Statement of Work (SOW) and reducing "programmatic" MIL-SPEC
   requirements in the areas of quality assurance, reliability, logistics
   and manufacturing, the SOW MIL-SPEC usage fell from 84 to 11.
   (3) By basing the CEC system on open system architecture, the program
   was able to make maximum use of COTS electronic circuit boards. The
   upgrade path established for the CEC also allows the exploitation of
   next generation processing technology as it becomes available. The
   enclosure, microwave components and battery back-up technology are all
   NDI from existing military programs. The CEC program team acquisition
   reform effort has resulted in an integrated approach to improve the
   acquisition process, transition to a "Commercial Baseline" and fully
   exploit available COTs/NDI both now and in the future.
   For further information contact Mr. Michael O'Driscoll, PEO(TAD)C, at
   (703) 602-7413.
       (This article appeared in the Jan 95 Acquisition Reform Update
                         Newsletter, vol 2. no.1.)
   [LINK]Acquisition Reform Office
   Alex Bennet, Webmaster
   Send comments to:
   URL: HTTP://
   Last revision: 31 Jul 1995
   Dynamic Systems Inc.


[Mountain Top Graphic]Click for full size image.(16.4K)

A specific goal for C.E.C. was to allow the Aegis-C.E.C. system to detect and respond to sea-skimming cruise missiles which had proved to be such a threat against USS Stark.

As can be seen in the above diagram, a low flying cruise missile outside the radar envelope of the Aegis command ship is detected by the radar of a C.E.C. equipped P-3 patrol aircraft. Tested on present P-3c aircraft, the new Orion 2000 series now in development will be fully C.E.C. capable.

From The Navy's Website

    Office of Naval Research
    Summary of the Cruise Missile Defense ACTD Mountain Top Demonstration
   In January 1996, the Navy and the Army demonstrated advanced,
   experimental capabilities in Cruise Missile Defense (CMD). In the CMD
   Phase I Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD), also known
   as "Mountain Top", surface-to-air missiles were launched from an AEGIS
   cruiser to engage sea-skimming cruise missile test targets well beyond
   the ship's radar horizon. Concurrently, an Army PATRIOT missile
   battery conducted simulated engagements and missile seeker tests that
   demonstrated a robust potential capability to engage cruise missiles
   beyond line of sight of land based sensors.
   Approved by the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Advanced
   Technology) in May 1994, the CMD ACTD Phase I was a joint Army and
   Navy effort led by the Navy. The Chief of Naval Research, Rear Admiral
   Marc Pelaez, was the ACTD executing agent and Dr. Eli Zimet, Head of
   the Special Programs Department (Code 35) of the Office of Naval
   Research (ONR), was the overall demonstration manager. Rear Admiral
   Tim Hood, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Theater Air Defense, and
   Mr. Mike O’Driscoll, Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC)
   program manager, were responsible for coordinating Navy activities.
   Brigadier General Dick Black, PEO for Missile Defense, and Mr. Dale
   Moore, Army Mountain Top Experiment (AMTE) program manager, were
   responsible for coordinating Army activities. The ACTD user sponsor
   and operational manager was the Commander-in-Chief, United States
   Pacific Command, Camp Smith, Oahu, Hawaii. The demonstration was
   conducted at the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF),
   Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii and surrounding sea areas and airspace.
   The focus of this ACTD was the detection of over-the-horizon cruise
   missile targets by an elevated sensor and target engagement by
   surface-based (sea and land) air defense systems. In practical terms,
   the extended horizon engagement concept involves deploying an airborne
   platform with a new surveillance and tracking radar to detect
   low-flying cruise missiles while they are still far beyond the horizon
   of protected areas and defending shooters. The airborne radar is
   envisioned to provide precision radar data for guidance of
   surface-to-air missiles launched from ships and land-based missile
   batteries to intercept cruise missile targets beyond the firing ship's
   horizon or battery’s line of sight.
   One of the technical challenges of achieving this capability was to
   develop a "networking architecture" to allow the individual radars and
   weapons systems onboard the firing ship or battery and airborne
   surveillance/tracking sensors to operate as a single composite air
   defense system. The networking architecture must meet the very
   stringent requirements necessary to transfer radar and missile status
   data with high accuracy and precise timing to provide for interceptor
   missile control and homing. This networking requirement was met by the
   Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). CEC provides an
   identical, real time, fire control quality picture of the battle space
   as though it were viewed through the collective eyes of all
   participants in the CEC network.
   Other technical challenges were modifications to surface-to-air
   missile performance, missile control, and airborne radar. Required
   changes to Navy STANDARD missile terminal homing performance were
   incorporated in several of the latest SM-2 Block IIIA missiles
   specially modified for this experiment. At this stage in their
   development, the representative airborne elements have not been
   installed in aircraft. Representative airborne elements were installed
   on Kokee mountain in Kauai, Hawaii - thus the name "Mountain Top" - as
   a surrogate aircraft at 3800 foot elevation. The Radar Surveillance
   Technology Experimental Radar (RSTER) used in this demonstration was
   developed by the Navy in conjunction with the Defense Advanced
   Research Project Agency, features advanced signal processing
   techniques, and was paired with an ADS-18S advanced phased array
   antenna mounted atop a 100 foot tower. A Navy Mark 74 Tartar missile
   fire control system used for target tracking and illumination was
   collocated with the CEC antenna on an adjacent tower. Equipment for
   these sensors was housed in buildings at the Kokee site.
   Navy Mountain Top culminated in missile firing tests conducted on
   20-21 January 1996. The AEGIS cruiser, USS Lake Erie (CG-70), fired
   four STANDARD missiles and achieved four target kills at ranges more
   than three times greater than typically achievable with today's
   deployed systems.
   USS Lake Erie, equipped with CEC for this demonstration, was stationed
   approximately 30 miles downrange from the Kauai shore. A typical
   firing scenario began when a sea-skimming target launched from PMRF,
   was flown out beyond radar range, and turned back toward the ship or
   toward shore. The developmental radar at the Kokee site detected the
   target and provided tracking data to USS Lake Erie via CEC. USS Lake
   Erie evaluated the threat, completed fire control solutions, and
   ordered the target engaged while it was still well beyond the
   ship’s AEGIS SPY-lB radar horizon. That caused CEC to
   automatically cue the Mark 74 system tracking radar/illuminator at the
   Kokee site to acquire the target and provide radar position
   measurement data directly to the AEGIS Combat System via CEC. AEGIS
   used this remote composite track data for initialization, launch and
   midcourse guidance of a STANDARD missile. When the missile passed
   beyond the ship's radar horizon it was guided to the target by
   reflected signal energy from the tracking radar illuminator at Kokee.
   Because target tracking and terminal homing illumination were provided
   by the surrogate aircraft via CEC, the SM-2 could intercept a
   low-flying target at long range, thus dramatically extending the air
   defense horizon.
   The Navy achieved its Mountain Top objectives with all low-flying
   targets successfully engaged. The critical implication to future
   war fighting is the Navy's potential ability to project its power
   inland and defend forces ashore against low flying overland cruise
   missiles using existing AEGIS capabilities and advanced aircraft
   systems to greatly extend the ship's horizon .
   The Army Mountain Top Experiment (AMTE) also used surveillance and
   fire control data from the elevated sensors at the Kokee site. An Army
   PATRIOT battery, sited at the Department of Energy administered Kauai
   Test Facility located at PMRF, developed fire control and acquisition
   solutions on targets using Mark 74 track data transmitted from the CEC
   processor at Kokee via the Joint Tactical Information Distribution
   System (JTIDS). Since development of the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3
   (PAC-3) surface-to-air missile is only in the beginning stages, the
   AMTE team combined captive carry tests (CCT), consisting of a
   prototype PAC-3 seeker suspended from a test aircraft, with a
   real-time, high fidelity virtual engagement interceptor simulation
   called the Virtual Engagement Simulation Tool or "VEST". By combining
   the high fidelity attributes of both test tools, it was possible to
   perform a real-time, high fidelity, end-to-end demonstration without
   requiring a "Live-Fire" test. The AMTE is very possibly the first
   program to synchronize a high-fidelity simulation and CCT with a
   tactical air defense system in a real-time test environment.
   The AMTE program was completed on 26 January 1996. A combined total of
   112 CCTs and virtual engagements were conducted, of which, 101 were
   classified as "successful", 2 classified "failures", and 9 classified
   as "no tests", for a spectacular 98% success rate. The AMTE proved
   that cruise missiles can be engaged beyond the line-of-sight of a
   ground-based air defense system sensor, and that this concept can be
   applied to battalion-based air defense doctrine, and systems that
   employ active-seeker interceptors.
   Following completion of the Navy and Army technology demonstration, an
   Enhanced Joint Exercise was conducted. The USS Lake Erie, Army PATRIOT
   Battery, and mountain top sensors were joined by additional units from
   the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps to conduct a series of scenarios
   to collect data and demonstrate joint theater air and CMD operations.
   Two CEC-equipped AEGIS cruisers, USS Anzio (CG-68) and USS Cape St.
   George (CG-71) from the Atlantic Fleet, arrived near Kauai to join
   with USS Lake Erie in participating with the Army, Air Force, Marine
   Corps, Hawaii and New Mexico Air National Guard, and US Customs
   Service units, in a series of joint-service littoral operational
   scenarios including more cooperative engagement SM-2 firings. A Marine
   Corps HAWK battery fired missiles to successfully engage several
   targets based on cueing of the fire control illuminators by the AEGIS
   SPY radars via CEC. An Air Force AWACS test bed aircraft collected
   radar data against the mountainous Kauai coastal terrain in
   conjunction with a CEC-equipped US Customs Service radar aircraft.
   Finally, as part of a separate demonstration effort, experiments were
   performed with a 32 meter tethered aerostat that provided infrared
   tracking data and also relayed CEC track data to cue the Hawk
   The highly successful Mountain Top ACTD and Enhanced Joint Exercise
   will be further evaluated to refine the development effort and move
   ahead towards achieving the vision for joint, extended-horizon cruise
   missile defense.

[Orion with CEC radar]Orion with CEC phased array radar.

More on C.E.C. Capability.

From the Office of Naval Research.

                          COOPERATIVE ENGAGEMENTS
   The fire control quality composite track provided by CEC allows an
   AEGIS ship to engage an attacker that its own radars do not hold, with
   initialization of the missile, calculation and uplink of guidance
   commands, and pointing of terminal illumination performed solely from
   the remote data. The CEC composite track also allows cueing of ships
   with other weapon systems, such as Seasparrow, providing earlier
   detection and engagement of attackers.
                              Engage On Remore
   For Engage On Remote cooperative engagements, the CEC composite track
   formed from the remote data is provided to the firing ship's AEGIS
   Weapon System, which processes the target data normally, as though it
   were coming from ownship radars. The ship may fire on the attacker
   before it crosses the radar horizon, allowing intercept at the maximum
   possible range. Cooperative engagements may be conducted when the
   target is still beyond the horizon, when track has been denied by
   jamming, or when the firing ship's radars are not radiating.
                                Cued Engage
   For Cued Engage, the CEC composite track is provided to Seasparrow as
   a precision cue, which assigns the Target Acquisition system and Fire
   Control Radar to acquire, track, and illuminate the target. The CEC
   cue allows earlier detection and tracking of the attacker, extending
   the intercept range closer to the ship's radar horizon.
   Next page [LINK] Return to CEC Table of Contents page [LINK] Prev page
   Updated: 10 Oct 1996

                     Battle Space Extension through CEC
   CEC provides for a steady increase in weapons range by combining data
   from many sources to enable earlier detection through cueing and
   accurate and more continuous tracking with improved ID consistency.
   Extension of battle space through CEC remote data engagements was
   demonstrated repeatedly during formal Navy testing in 1993/94 at AFWTF
   and this capability was incorporated into the CEC IOC version.
   Extension of battle space using airborne sensors and illumination was
   demonstrated experimentally using sensors and illumination at an
   elevated land site at Kokee Park, Kauai, in February 1996 as an
   Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration. This capability can be
   incorporated into subsequent versions of CEC if suitable sensors and
   illumination become available. [INLINE]
   Next page [LINK] Return to CEC Table of Contents page [LINK] Prev page
   Updated: 10 Oct 1996

                             Future Development
   Development of CEC beyond IOC includes application to Theater
   Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD) and adaptation of the Common
   Equipment Set for integration with joint service sensor and weapon
   systems. Initial studies, including live missile firings based on
   display level CEC cues, have been done for Hawk.
   Initial analysis and studies for integration of CEC with the Arsenal
   Ship, Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, Patriot, Aerostat,
   and Satellite systems are being or have been conducted. Other
   applications proposed for CEC include integration with THAAD/GBR, the
   Airborne laser, and CORPSAM/MEADS. [INLINE]
   Recent exercises demonstrated cueing of Hawk by CEC at the display
   level, resulting in successful live missile firings at PMRF in
   February 1996. Cues were provided both to the TPS-59 and to the Hawk
   High Power Illuminator, based on data from three AEGIS ships offshore.
   Additional studies are currently underway to provide direct
                     Theater Ballistic Missile Defense
   CEC contributes to TBMD by providing a continuous fire control quality
   track on the TBM from acquisition through splash. Although each ship
   is only able to maintain track for part of the TBM 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 TBMs when the SM-2 Block IVA missile becomes
   JTF-95 TBM Trackex
   This is the CEC composite track of a Sergeant missile launched from
   Wallops Island, Virginia, during Joint Task Force 95 exercises.
   Contributions to the track were made by USS Anzio, USS Cape St.
   George, USS Kidd, USS Eisenhower, the CEC Air Unit, and the CEC land
   site at Dam Neck, Virginia. Connectivity between the units was
   provided by the CEC Air Unit.
   USS Anzio has detected the target, and her data, distributed through
   the net, cues the other units for detection and formation of the
   composite track.
   CEC composite track and predicted impact are based on contributions
   from all the CEC units. The track is continuous from acquisition
   through splash. [INLINE]
           Return to CEC Table of Contents page [LINK] Prev page 
   Updated: 10 Oct 1996

Other documents from the now-closed website

CEC Operations Summary

Initial Operational Capability Summary

"First Launch"

Sensor issues in the littoral environment.

Engage on Remote Capability

Passive Ranging and De-ghosting

Battle Space Extension Through CEC

Improvements in Track Accuracy.

Pacific Missile Range Facility (Kauai/MOUNTAINTOP)

CEC Integration with other missile systems and the airborne laser.

Link to MHPCC MOUNTAIN TOP web page.


Associated Press

Los Angeles Times   Sunday September 8, 1996
Home Edition
Part A, Page 10
Type of Material: Wire

   SHINNECOCK, N.Y.--Weeks after the TWA Flight 800 explosion and
hundreds of miles
away, an American Airlines pilot claimed that he saw a missile pass by
his jetliner in flight, federal investigators said Saturday.

   The National Transportation Safety Board said the pilot on an Aug. 29
American Airlines flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Boston said he
saw a missile pass his Boeing 757 over Wallops Island, Va. NASA has a
program for unmanned research rockets there.

   NTSB spokesman Peter Goelz said: "We're going to look into it. So far
we have not been able to confirm anything."

   Military spokesmen have said repeatedly that no exercises with live
weapons were being conducted in the area of Flight 800.

[end excerpt]

Just two days later, they decide to admit to missile test.        

          NTSB Reviews Rocket Launch
   WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (AP) -- Federal officials
are investigating the launch of a NASA rocket last
month that hurtled past a Boeing 757, startling its
   The rocket missed the American Airlines jet by
more than three miles, National Transportation
Safety Board spokesman Peter Goelz said Monday in
   The 15-foot rocket, launched Aug. 29 from NASA's
Wallops Island Flight Center on Virginia's Eastern
Shore, carried classified research experiments for
the Department of Defense. 
   The pilot reported seeing a "missile," and the
NTSB was looking into the matter because of
heightened concern about air safety in the wake of
the explosion of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island on
July 17. One scenario being considered is the jumbo
jet was downed by a missile. 
   NASA spokesman Keith Koehler said he was
confident the NTSB would conclude that NASA
followed proper safety procedures and that the
rocket posed no threat to the jet. 
   The Wallops center, on a remote barrier island,
has been launching rockets for decades into a zone
of restricted air space that stretches over the
Atlantic Ocean. Before each launching, Koehler
said, NASA contacts the Federal Aviation
   The rocket in question had a routine flight and
dropped into the water. Koehler said NASA radar
detected no aircraft within the restricted zone. 

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