US Navy all set for AN/SPY-6(V) radar array tests

American defense contractor Raytheon informed that it has delivered the first AN/SPY-6(V) air and missile defense radar array to the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii ahead of schedule.

The company said the array was installed according to plan, in preparation for first radar light-off in early July. SPY-6(V) is the next-generation integrated air and ballistic missile defense radar for the U.S. Navy, filling a capability gap for the surface fleet.

The delivery and installation of the AN/SPY-6 radar at the Advanced Radar Development Evaluation Laboratory (ARDEL) followed the successful completion of Near Field Range testing in Sudbury, Massachusetts in late May, and marks the beginning of the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) program’s next phase of execution that includes live test campaigns at PMRF — involving air and surface targets as well as integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) flight tests.

In less than 30 months, the SPY-6(V) array completed design, fabrication and initial testing. Soon to transition to low rate initial production, SPY-6(V) remains on track for delivery in 2019 for the first DDG 51 Flight III destroyer.

“Several months of testing at our near-field range facility, where the array completed characterization and calibration, have proven the system ready for live target tracking,” said Raytheon’s Tad Dickenson, AMDR program director. “The array was the last component to ship. With all other components, including the back-end processing equipment, delivered earlier and already integrated at the range, AMDR will be up and running in short order.”

“The extensive testing to date has demonstrated good compliance to the radar’s key technical performance parameters,” said U.S. Navy Captain Seiko Okano, major program manager, Above Water Sensors (IWS 2.0). “The technologies are proven mature and ready for testing in the far-field range, against live targets, to verify and validate the radar’s exceptional capabilities.”

As Raytheon eplains, the SPY-6(V) is the first scalable radar, built with RMAs – radar building blocks. Each RMA, roughly 2′ x 2′ x 2′ in size, is a standalone radar that can be grouped to build any size radar aperture, from a single RMA to configurations larger than currently fielded radars.

All cooling, power, command logic and software are scalable, allowing for new instantiations without significant radar development costs.

Providing greater capability – in range, sensitivity and discrimination accuracy – than currently deployed radars, SPY-6(V) increases battlespace, situational awareness and reaction time to effectively counter current and future threats.

The inherent scalability could allow for new instantiations, such as back-fit on existing DDG 51 destroyers and installation on aircraft carriers, amphibious warfare ships, frigates, Littoral Combat Ship and DDG 1000 classes, without significant new radar development costs, Raytheon said.

When it comes to the DDG 51 Flight III destroyer, however, the SPY-6(V) AMDR will feature 37 RMAs – which is equivalent to SPY-1D(V) +15 dB meaning SPY-6 can see a target of half the size at twice the distance of today’s radar while 4 array faces will provide full-time, 360° situational awareness.

The video below illustrates the radar’s scalability and provides a visual of how it all should work.