Scalable for the future
SPY-6 is also the Navy’s first truly scalable radar, making it easy to configure to any type of ship.
It’s built with individual ‘building blocks’ called radar modular assemblies. Each RMA is a self-contained radar antenna in a 2’x2’x2’ box. The RMAs can stack together to form an array of nearly any size to fit the mission requirements of any ship.
“We can scale it for frigates and other classes of ships,” said Scott Spence, program area director for naval radars at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “And, we can add capabilities across all those platforms very seamlessly and quickly.”
By the end of the contract, the radar will be on more than 45 ships across the Navy.
“This contract really cements SPY-6 as a cornerstone for the Navy,” Spence said. “It not only drives advanced capabilities, but also sustainment by having common logistics to support all those ships, and common training for the sailors who will operate and maintain the radars.”
The radars’ common software baseline makes them easy to upgrade, without the need to install new hardware. Under a separate integration and production support contract, Raytheon Missiles & Defense will deliver software upgrades over the SPY-6 family’s lifetime.
Meeting high-rate production
Raytheon Missiles & Defense 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. The business used its Immersive Design Center to configure the factory and refine processes to deliver faster and better.
“We’ve completely streamlined the building and testing of SPY-6 to meet high-rate production,” Spence said.
And those same types of efficiencies are shared among suppliers, which provide 75 percent of the radar systems integrated by Raytheon.
“There’s a great deal of work across our supply base, across the country, to make this family of radars a success,” Spence said.
Sustaining with innovation
While meeting production demands, Raytheon Missiles & Defense continues to work with the Navy to improve the radar.
In 2021, the business and Office of Naval Research tested new distributed sensing software for the SPY-6 radar. The demonstration supports the Navy’s goal of creating distributed sensing networks to defend against evolving threats.
Earlier, Raytheon Missiles & Defense and the Navy completed testing on the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, or EASR, at the Navy’s Wallops Island Test Facility in Virginia.
The SPY-6(V)2 rotating radar and SPY-6(V)3 fixed-face radar are known together as EASR. The tests focused on anti-air warfare and air traffic control capabilities, weather operations, and power systems for both radars.
The EASR will replace single-function legacy radars and improve range and performance.