The Aegis Combat System on the Navy's Destroyers Is Getting Even Better

Military and Aerospace Electronics

Key point: This upgrade will make the detection of targets easier.

DAHLGREN, Va. – Shipboard electronics experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. will integrate the company's Aegis combat system with the Raytheon AN/SPY-6(V) radar as part of the U.S. Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) 6.0 project.

Officials of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in Dahlgren, Va., announced a $327 million contract Friday to the Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems segment in Moorestown, N.J., to design, develop, integrate, test and certify the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) 6.0 capability.

BMD 6.0, otherwise known as Aegis baseline 10, primarily involves integrating the Lockheed Martin Aegis combat system with the AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR). The new radar will go aboard Flight III Burke-class destroyers. Thus far two Flight III Burke-class destroyers are under contract: the USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125); and the USS Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126).

Lockheed Martin is designing Aegis baseline 10 to be compatible with older variants AN/SPY-1 radars to backfit older U.S. Navy Burke-class destroyers, and to help foreign navies upgrade their systems to baseline 10. Flight III is the latest version of the Burke-class guided missile destroyer, and will be equipped for ballistic missile defense.

Related: Raytheon prepares to build AN/SPY-6 radar systems for aircraft carriers and amphibious transport ships

The future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), the first Flight III Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer, is being built with baseline 10 including SPY-6 radar. The Navy expects baseline 10 initial operational capability during Fiscal Year 2023.

The Raytheon AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR will improve the Burke-class destroyer's ability to detect hostile aircraft, surface ships, and incoming ballistic missiles, Raytheon officials say. The AMDR will supersede the AN/SPY-1 radar, which has been standard equipment on Navy Aegis Burke-class destroyers and Ticonderoga-class cruisers.

The AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR will provide greater detection ranges, increased discrimination accuracy, higher reliability and sustainability, and lower costs, compared to the AN/SPY-1D(V) radar onboard today’s Burke-class destroyers, officials say.

The system is built with individual building blocks called radar modular assemblies (RMAs), Raytheon officials say. Each RMA is a self-contained radar in a two-cubic-foot box; RMAs can stack together to form any size array to fit ship mission requirements.

Related: Raytheon finishes development testing of SPY-6 AMDR shipboard ballistic missile defense radar

The inherent scalability of the AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR also could enable new instantiations, such as backfits on existing Burke-class destroyers and installation on aircraft carriers, amphibious warfare ships, frigates, the littoral combat ship, and Zumwalt-class land-attack destroyers without significant new radar development costs, Raytheon officials say.

For the Flight III Burke-class destroyer's SPY-6(V) AMDR will feature 37 RMAs. The new radar will be able to see targets half the size at twice the distance of today’s SPY-1 radar. The AMDR will have four array faces to provide full-time, 360-degree situational awareness. Each 14-by-14-foot face is about the same size as today’s SPY-1D(V) radar.

The AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR will 30 times more sensitive than the AN/SPY-1D(V) in the Flight III configuration, and is being designed to counter large and complex raids, Raytheon officials say. The new radar will have adaptive digital beamforming and radar signal processing for dealing with high-clutter and jamming environments.

Related: Navy awards DRS Laurel $21.5 million order for five AN/SPQ-9B missile defense shipboard radar systems

The AN/SPY-6(V) radar also is reprogrammable to adapt to new missions or emerging threats. It uses high-powered gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors, distributed receiver exciters, adaptive digital beamforming, and Intel processors for digital signal processing.

The new radar will feature S-band radar coupled with X-band horizon-search radar, and a radar suite controller (RSC) to manage radar resources and integrate with the ship’s combat management system.

On this order Lockheed Martin will do the work in Moorestown, N.J., and should be finished by December 2025.

Image: DVIDShub.

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