02 May 2017
Teal Group’s most recent analysis of Future Naval Ship EO/IR Sensor Systems covers naval EO/IR systems at the sophistication level (and expense) of the Mk 46/Mk 20 or greater. This is a very different market from the FLIR Systems, Inc. (FSI) SeaFLIR and other simple FLIR balls, and indeed, the US Navy’s earlier Shipboard Protection System (SPS), though now cancelled, was developed as a parallel situational awareness system for naval ships – in addition to the EOSS. Our forecast may prove conservative, or else future developments to simpler SPS systems could eventually replace the higher-end EOSS-type gun systems. The US Navy’s future plans are currently unclear, and international navies have typically bought the more prolific European naval EO/IR systems.
The recent Ticonderoga (CG-47) class Cruiser Modernization Program (CMP) and all versions of the Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) destroyers have received L-3 KEO’s Mk 46 OSS or Mk 20 EOSS. But when funding becomes available for upgrades or replacement of these systems, which may not happen for several years, this is included in our speculative forecast as “Available” to any developer or manufacturer, despite L-3 KEO’s dominant legacy (and likelihood to remain competitive for future contracts).
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) has been specifically targeted for combating small ships, and will certainly include EO/IR sensors, though many of these may be smaller systems. But with at least three different “mission modules” originally planned, several different EO/IR suites could have been planned or procured for each ship, including a longer range, more sophisticated EO/IR suite for the surface warfare module (apparently L-3 KEO’s Mk 20 EOSS has already been procured for at least some LCSs). The varying plans for a future Frigate version of the LCS would all require a sophisticated and expensive EO/IR system, funding for which is included here (see the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) & Frigate (FF) Radar & C4I report for a full analysis of LCS and future Frigate program plans).
The Coast Guard’s Deepwater program was to procure or upgrade almost two hundred ships (3,700-ton National Security Cutters [8 new], 2,900-ton offshore patrol cutters [25 new], 200-ton fast response cutters [58 new], and 123-foot Island class patrol boats [49 upgrades]). Some of these have received the Mk 46 OSS, and the Mk 20 EOSS has also been produced for the Coast Guard. Sophisticated EO/IR systems are especially important for the Coast Guard, as their mission typically includes detection and prosecution of small boats, and IR sensors can also provide useful information on internal payloads and cargo.
The Future Naval Ship EO/IR Sensor Systems forecast also includes funding for smaller programs such as the now 1-3 ship DDG-1000 Zumwalt class program, and the potential for sophisticated EO/IR systems for other naval ships, including amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers, which were early scheduled to receive FLIR Systems, Inc.’s Shipboard Protection System (SPS) begin¬ning in 2012, before the program was cancelled.