acquisition of Aegis required the Japanese to learn a new and much more complex system than TARTAR.


The U.S. Congress approved the Aegis sale to Japan in 1988 despite reservations about the transfer of technology. Special congressional concerns were related to the SPY-1D radar technology and the associated complex real-time computer programs. The USN responded to these concerns with additional constraints on the transfer of technology, as delineated in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the U.S. and Japanese governments. Releasability considerations are a critical aspect of the Aegis FMS program. Everyone from the Aegis program who interfaces with the Japanese must understand the restrictions to ensure that the letter and spirit of the MOU are strictly followed.

The USN and Lockheed Martin over the years have developed methods to get well-prepared Aegis ships to sea as quickly as possible. Since the United States and Japan provide approximately equal shares of the program (the USN supplies Aegis and other systems while the Japanese supply the ship and major combat system elements of an integrated system), the management approach was crucial. The first task in this approach was convincing the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) personnel that Aegis procurement had different management requirements than their previous TARTAR programs because of the number and complexity of the system interfaces. This was accomplished early, but because of personnel changes in the JMSDF it remains a continuing effort.

The next set of problems was the interface with the Japanese manufacturers. The first involved the shipbuilder. Because of the complexity of the system and the alignment and support systems, a number of Lockheed Martin people have been located at U.S. shipyards to support ship design and installation to be part of a USN Aegis test team (ATT). This team stays in close communication with experts in the Moorestown, New Jersey home office. In Japan the shipbuilder was responsible for all of these functions. The Japanese shipbuilders’ first response was to ask for the equipment, the manuals, some training, and on-call technical support as required. This was also the first reaction of U.S. shipyards. However, in the United States, PMS 400 manages the ship contracts. In Japan it was necessary to convince the shipyard that a different approach, similar to that used by the USN, was required.

Another set of interfaces is the Japanese manufacturers of the ASW, EW, and gunfire control systems. These systems are integrated in USN Aegis ships, and it was the desire of JMSDF to also integrate them on their ship. Since these were existing or upgraded systems, they could not be redesigned to match the computer interfaces of the U.S. counterpart. It was necessary to negotiate new or revised interfaces with Japanese manufacturers, JMSDF, USN, and Lockheed Martin.

One of the reasons for the great success of the Aegis program has been the policy to test equipment and computer programs thoroughly before delivering them to the shipyard. In new versions of the system this is accomplished primarily at the combat system engineering development (CSED) site in Moorestown. It was not possible to send systems from Japan to test at the CSED site. Leaving this complex digital interface testing to the shipyard test cycle was not an acceptable practice because of the compressed schedule and the number of technical experts

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