BAE to Overhaul US Navy Self Defense Test Ship

BAE Systems has secured a $22-million contract to sustain the US Navy Self Defense Test Ship, the former USS Paul Foster (DD 964) Spruance-class destroyer.

Under the agreement, the company’s San Diego Ship Repair segment will provide per-side maintenance, repair, and alterations to the vessel at its facility in California.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center – Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) announced a solicitation for the eight-month project in April.

Work for the contract will be performed between mid-April and December 2024.

After the maintenance, the test ship will undergo sea trials followed by delivery to the service.

Self Defense Test Ship

The Self-Defense Test Ship program was established by the US Department of Defense to aid engineering and evaluation-related activities that enhance the country’s fleet.

Demonstrations the “floating laboratory” supports include short-range weapon system firing and surface combat projects.

The test ship incorporates additional capabilities for training, distance deployment, design research, target assessment, advanced technology, and logistics proofing.

The platform can also support hull, mechanical, and electrical-based programs, as well as in-service engineering investigations.

Some sessions are conducted with fiber optic technology to control the ship remotely for different unmanned test events and close engagements between self-defense weapons and real-world targets.

All activities leveraging the Self Defense Test Ship will be facilitated by the NSWC PHD and the Point Mogu-based Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division.

USS Paul Foster

The ex-EDD 964 entered service in the 1970s and was retired in 2003.

It was the first Spruance destroyer assigned to the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet and became one of the initial platforms to test the aviation capabilities of the H-64 Apache and SH-3 Sea King helicopters.

The vessel is the remaining Spruance system afloat in the US military.

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