The U.S. Navy’s first permanent Shipboard Electronic Systems Evaluation Facility (SESEF) site in Europe is now operating in Rota, Spain. A Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport tenant activity site at Naval Station Rota, Spain, the facility services Commander 6th Fleet (C6F) forward deployed naval forces (FDNFs). It opened in September 2017.
SESEFs are land-based test sites established in the 1950s to facilitate testing and evaluation of ship’s electromagnetic (EM) transmitting and receiving equipment for primary customers of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Military Sealift Command. They act as a “reliable partner” for two-party testing, analysis and troubleshooting of shipboard EM systems.
The SESEF Rota site’s establishment fills a need to support four forward deployed guided-missile destroyers currently stationed at Naval Station Rota. The ships require periodicity testing and certification of various on-board tactical electromagnetic systems. To meet emergent C6F needs, a temporary SESEF was developed in trailers in 2014, but local regulations required that it be replaced with a permanent facility within five years.
There are currently six other operational SESEFs, located at Fort Story, Va.; Mayport, Fla.; San Diego, Calif.; Ediz Hook, Wash.; Barber’s Point, Hawaii; and Yokosuka, Japan. SESEF Rota Spain is the seventh site to be established and an eighth site is presently being developed at Naval Base Guam.
NUWC Newport operates and maintains the Fort Story, Mayport, and Rota sites, as well as a mobile van, stationed in Mayport, that covers the U.S. East Coast and the Great Lakes. The mobile van was established primarily to support new construction platforms’ electromagnetic systems test requirements during industrial periods such as the Littoral Combat Ship Program and other special testing requirements with geographic limitations that a permanent site cannot provide.
The San Diego, Ediz Hook, and Barber’s Point sites are maintained and operated by NUWC Division Keyport. The Yokosuka Japan site is maintained and operated by the Ship Repair Facility, Japan Regional Maintenance Center.
The SESEF sites offer both “quick-look” and “dedicated” system performance tests. Quick-look tests are generally conducted during transit to and from port or while pier side, and require little to no advanced scheduling or specific maneuvering. The platform is normally provided a “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” result along with any detected system anomalies or problems. Tests may be combined to provide the platform with a full-up combat system quick-look evaluation.
“Dedicated” system performance tests provide the platform with a detailed analysis and evaluation of systems under test to adherence to design specifications and system performance requirements. These tests have particular testing requirements and desired measurement precision that require specific on-range maneuvering and advanced SESEF range scheduling including internal platform coordination. Results from a systems performance test is provided to the platform via a formal report, typically on the same day the testing was performed.
Both quick-look and dedicated system performance tests are performed in accordance with a SESEF Shipboard Test Execution Manual. The various shipboard electromagnetic systems supported by SESEFs’ testing, analysis and troubleshooting include, various plain and secure communication systems, identification friend or foe (IFF) systems, naval tactical data link (Link 11 and Link 16) systems, antenna and radar radiation patterns (ARP), AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare Suite systems, ship’s systems exploitation equipment, tactical air control and navigation systems and radio direction finding systems. Some sites provide additional testing capabilities that are specific to particular customer’s requirements within their local area of responsibility.