Radar maker Raytheon has been awarded a $92 million contract to develop a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the U.S. Navy’s new Ford-class carrier fleet and big deck amphibious warships, company officials told USNI News on a Monday conference call.
Based on Raytheon’s SPY-6 S-band Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) planned for the services Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) guided missile destroyers, the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) will be the volume air search radar for most of the Gerald R. Ford-class carrier (CVN-78) — starting with John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) and the planned LHA-8 amphibious warship.
“It’s using identical hardware, identical signal processing software, data processing software.
It’s as near identical as possible. The goal of the program to drive affordability and commonality,” Tad Dickenson told reporters.
“Therefore EASR gets significant affordability off of AMDR SPY-6’s larger [industrial] base.”
The initial engineering development model (EDM) contract will develop two variants of EASR – a rotating variant for the amphibs and a fixed face array for the CVNs, company officials said. The testing program is planned to run to 2020.
The service also plans to procure a separate X-band radar to compliment the EASR for both the future carriers and the amphibs.
Following the EMD phase, there are up to $723 million in contract options to support 16 ship sets of the radar – 6 fixed face for the Fords and 10 for amphibious ships. If all the options are exercised the program is set to run through 2026.
EASR will have an additional capability over the AMDR SPY-6 to function as an air traffic control radar. It will also have access to common software building blocks of AMDR. Raytheon officials would not say explicitly, but the implication is the inclusion of the radar on the amphibs and the CVNs would allow it a higher degree of compatibility with the Navy’s ongoing-networked warfare push – like the carrier strike group centric Naval Integrated FirControl-Counterer Air (NIFC-CA) construct.
The Ford class carriers, along with the Zumwalt-class of guided missile destroyer, were originally set to field the Raytheon-built Dual Band Radar. The DBR will be installed on the first-in-class Gerald R. Ford but the service scrubbed plans to install the DBR on the rest of the fleet after the Zumwalt class was truncated to three ships from a planned class of almost 30. The first EASR was slated to be first installed on the future USS Enterprise (CVN-80) but was pulled ahead after the delivery schedule for Kennedy was shifted to a two-phase delivery.
Last year then Program Executive Officer Carriers Rear Adm. Tom Moore, told USNI News the service elected to make the switch for an estimated $180 million one-time saving.
“That gave me a little extra time. If I had to deliver CVN-79 in 2022 when it was originally designed, it wouldn’t have had the radar on it,” Moore said.
“The two-phased strategy gives me the lowest possible cost for the ship, and the radar is a big piece of that.”