The U.S. Navy plans to field in February a “virtual twin” of the Aegis Combat System as part of a pilot program that aims to accelerate the deployment of upgrades to the platform, USNI News reported Wednesday.
The pilot program seeks to facilitate testing on guided-missile cruisers and destroyer ships of potential upgrades to the weapons system without interference to the operations of the maritime-based Aegis platform.
Capt. Todd Boehm, major program manager for Aegis integrated warfare systems, said the virtual twin is a set of code that comprises the Aegis Baseline 9 system and currently operates at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren in Virginia.
Boehm said the service will test and determine how it can integrate and test a new algorithm that works to build up the “surface tracking picture” into the baseline in real time through the use of the Aegis virtual twin aboard a destroyer that is set to undergo the Composite Training Unit Exercise.
The Navy will conduct the second phase of the pilot program between the spring and summer of 2018 with a plan to put the virtual twin onboard a vessel that is set to carry out a live-fire Standard Missile test as part of the Combat Systems Ship Qualifications Trials.
The testing phase seeks to help developers immediately identify problems associated with an early-stage combat system capability build prior to spending on the system’s operational test and evaluation stage, the report noted.