A new radar for the US Navy

SPY-6 radar array aces final test – ready to defend fleets

Ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and other threats like aircraft will have difficulty evading the U.S. Navy’s newest radar, the AN/SPY-6(V)1 radar, also called SPY-6.

SPY-6 is a family of advanced naval radars that allows ships to simultaneously detect and counter a host of threats in the air and at sea. The advanced radar gives operators and commanders more time to react by identifying more threats faster and at farther distances.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, one of four businesses that form Raytheon Technologies, builds the SPY-6 radar and has completed near-field testing on the first 14’x14’ modular array. This latest milestone moves the system one step closer to installation on the Navy’s first Flight III guided missile destroyer, the USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125). The radar will be carried on seven types of Navy ships.

“The goal of near-field range testing is to increase integration speed, drive out risk and ensure SPY-6 is primed for installation,” said Scott Spence, senior director of Naval Radar Systems at Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

All SPY-6 arrays undergo rigorous, live testing that includes:

  • Operational health evaluation of more than 5,000 transmit and receive radiating elements. 
  • Alignment and calibration of nearly 150 subarray channels and 5,000 radar elements.
  • Collection and validation of over 42,000 “golden database” parameters that allows automatic recalibration of the array during at-sea maintenance.
  • Collection, analysis and verification of over 300 transmit and receive array beam patterns.

“When SPY-6 radar arrays leave our Radar Development Facility, they are ready to defend the surface fleet,” Spence said.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense has nine DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers on contract for the SPY-6 program and will build more systems to meet Navy demand.

The company has invested more than $500 million in infrastructure and capacity enhancements for SPY-6, including advanced automation technology at its 30,000 square-foot Radar Development Facility. Construction on expanded production areas for key radar components is expected to be completed in 2020.