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Contractors—Raytheon opens new naval combat systems facility

Five months after the opening of a new Raytheon Co. building in Kearny Mesa, executives at the site said they’re close to hitting full stride despite a few initial stumbles.

Growing pains are to be expected at the new location of any business, but the quick elimination of such things is essential for a defense company dealing with defined deadlines attached to contracts in the multimillion-dollar range, Raytheon executives said.

“That was one of the amazing things about moving here,” said Jay Parker, an on-site Raytheon business development manager. “One of our senior managers planned the move so well that there was no down time between moving labs.”

Not everything has smelled like roses at the Naval & Maritime Integrated Systems (N & MIS;) Expeditionary Warfare Center facility on Balboa Avenue. Of the site’s two major projects, one is already behind schedule, said a Raytheon executive.

The 680 employees working at the N & MIS; site work on the Shipboard Self-Defense System Mark II, a computer program that automates a ship’s weaponry and radar systems, and the computer system for the LPD-17 amphibious assault ship.

The first LPD-17, the USS San Antonio, which can carry a pair of landing craft and 700 Marines, is six to eight months behind schedule, said Bill Sherman, a corporate business development manager at N & MIS.;

However, he said it’s not entirely their fault.


– First Project Of This Type

“Mainly, it’s the first ship of its type,” Sherman said.

At the former Raytheon facility on Sports Arena Boulevard, the employees designed computer programs for the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, or Spawar.

As soon as the programs were complete, employees would transmitted the programs piece by piece via the Internet to Spawar. That type of work required a location within three miles of the Spawar center in Point Loma.

At the new site in Kearny Mesa, the company works on combat system contracts at their own pace and delivers completed programs to a Washington, D.C.-based defense contractor, Sherman said.

“We do it all at our place,” he said.

The new N & MIS; building is a 240,000-square-foot modern complex specifically remodeled to accommodate Raytheon’s business. It includes 30,000 square feet of laboratory space to support development, integration and testing of electronics such as the Mark II.

“It’s a much more professional business environment” because of the new, upgraded facility, Parker said.

The third version of the Mark II was recently completed, Sherman said.


– Ship Arrives This Spring

In March or April, the first ship to use the SSDS Mark II will arrive in San Diego for the system’s installation, he added.

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, currently in the Newport News Shipbuilding yard in Newport News, Va., is undergoing a 33-month refueling and modernization. It will be the first carrier equipped with the Mark II , commonly referred to as a combat direction system.

“Putting it on board is not a big deal for us, because the hardware is already installed,” Parker said. “Really, the testing and checkout of that system within the new ship-board hardware is very important.”

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