The BLQ-10 system, formerly called the Advanced Submarine Tactical ESM Combat System (ASTECS) RDT&E project, will be the advanced ESM system for the Virginia (SSN-774) class that will support operations in both the open-ocean environment and the complex littoral signals environment. It consists of signal receivers, displays, and advanced processing and analysis equipment. ESM provides detection, identification, and direction-finding for radar and communication signals emanating from ships, aircraft, submarines, and other emitters. ESM equipment is used by attack submarines to aid in self-protection, situation awareness, and intelligence-gathering for battle group support. Battle group dissemination of the information gathered from these signals will be provided via the ship’s combat control system and communications equipment.
The SSN-774 class ESM suite is a minimally manned ESM system providing several critical functions for radar and communications signals: detection, signal acquisition, identification, localization, and threat warning to the combat system. It requires a surface-penetrating antenna that can be located on the Photonics or ESM mast. The Virginia class ESM system is being considered for eventual back-fit into Seawolf (SSN-21) and improved Los Angeles (SSN-688I)-class submarines.
The SSN-774 class ESM System entered Engineering and Manufacturing Development in October 1994. The Engineering Development Models are scheduled to undergo at-sea operational assessment in late FY 1999 or early FY 2000.
Lockheed Martin, Syracuse, New York is the developer and manufacturer.