Home » Aviation » Raytheon Awarded $92M Navy Contract for Future Carrier, Big Deck AESA Radars


Raytheon Awarded $92M Navy Contract for Future Carrier, Big Deck AESA Radars

Aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) sits pier side in the early morning light at Newport News Shipbuilding in 2014. US Navy Photo

Aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) sits pier side in the early morning light at Newport News Shipbuilding in 2014. US Navy Photo

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.”

  • John Locke

    “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.”

    Cost over-runs will eat that up in a jiffy!

    • disqus_zommBwspv9

      The DOD needs to reword those contacts that penalize the builder/contract/company. etc. So if they underbid then they get to eat the difference. instead of saying cost over runs.

  • delta9991

    The SPY-6 family is going to be incredibly for the Navy. If we assume the roughly the same size as the SPS-48 currently in use, thats a 69 RMA array which is just incredible in performance from info available. Now all they need to do is push the 9 RMA array down to the LCS Frigate. With the X-band AMDR supplement, the LCS-FF can be used as part of NIFCA-CA to guide SM-2/3/6 from other vessels onto air targets. Coupled with the inherent advantages of AESA radar, the Navy radars just got a heck of a lot more powerful and robust.

    • Curtis Conway

      If only it were so.

    • Sons of Liberty

      Why waste the money on the LaC and just use the saving to build an actual Frigate to replace the Perrys.

      • delta9991

        Because the LCS is here to stay whether we like it or not. There are 26 already contracted out if memory serves me right, so the Navy is already very invested in the ship. Since they aren’t going away, we have to make the best use of them which means pushing as many of the FF upgrades, such as EW/Weapons/Radar/SeaRAM, down to the already delivered LCS without breaking weight limits. Adding an SPY-6 variant array would allow for it to integrate with NIFCA-CA and use bigger sticks from elsewhere in the fleet. We need to stop thinking of this ship as a front line combatant that slings Tomahawks and Standards at anyone who comes forth. It isn’t that and wasn’t meant to be that. Its meant to show the flag, reassure/train allies and be able to defend itself if faced by an equal opponent, such as a frigate or corvette. My main issue is it can’t hit back at an equal. If we push this upgrade, SEWIP, SeaRAM and NSM, a 1-3 ship SAG of LCS would be a pretty formidable opponent to face by most enemy forces and wont go down easy. In all out war, it’ll assist a CBG with ASW in blue water, ASW/Asymmetric threats in green water or operate in 3-5 ship SAG’s, not venture out alone and stupid. And if you think cancelling these and designing 2-3 new hulls for each role will be cheaper to build, maintain and operate, you’re kidding yourself. Just look at recent procurements

        • The Plague

          There used to be such a thing called the Patrol Navy. Perhaps the LCS is an element of a return in that direction.

          • Curtis Conway

            Its PT-109 on steroids. Shallower draft has its advantages in access to areas where that Rubber Window on the front of deeper draft vessels simply cannot go. However, the redefinition of ‘survivability’ from watertight integrity & compartmentalization to how well it can defend itself is a) full of flaws, and b) particularly when you fail to arm the vessel to protect itself, and limit the platform’s combat capability to just about that, then c) up arm the vessel against surface targets at great range making it a fatter and higher priority target for the adversary. The LCS/FF will be a missile sponge until it soaks up a few, then another one will have to use its great speed to race over to take its place. The LCS’s will have to remain near the formation in transit, hit the replenishment ship often to maintain its required readiness status, remain in the protective umbrella of AAW capable vessels when near shore or adversarial dispositions, and for the most part be a burden to the formation/disposition unless its performing mine countermeasures which doesn’t work yet.

          • The Plague

            It obviously cannot be used in any high-intensity combat environment. I was thinking more along the lines of low intensity conflict and patrol duty. Like interdiction of pirates, narcotics and such. Also insertion and extraction of special forces in low-end threat environments. Or does the official CONOPS actually envision something in the real thick of it ?

          • Curtis Conway

            The LCS will be a fine FFG-7 replacement when LEDET is on board for drug interdiction in the Caribbean and Pacific smuggling routes. Since the USCG is loosing its older twelve (12) Hamilton Class High Endurance Cutters to be replaced by Eight (8) Legend Class National Security Cutters (that cannot be in more than one place at a time) and have to conduct US Coast Guard missions on the High Seas around the globe (including the Arctic where it CAN go, and the LCS/FF cannot). Perhaps we are seeing future mission sharing requirements determined by necessity, due to platform capabilities. The NSC is most everything the LCS should have been with the exception of speed, much more survivable with respect to watertight integrity & compartmentalization, though not up to the highest USN Regulations for Surface Combatants, but light-years ahead of LCS/FF. Improving the combat system on the NSC to make a pretty fair frigate is easy compared to raising the watertight integrity & compartmentalization standards on an LCS/FF just to meet minimum US Navy Survivability Standards for a Surface Combatant. Who ever started us down this path of building a US Navy Surface Combatant to this standard should be publicly flogged on deck and then keel hauled.

            Anti-piracy operations would be a good job for the LCS/FF. After upgrade it may (MAY mind you) be OK for the Persian Gulf, Malacca Straits, some places in the Med, and the Coast(s) of Africa, but we are reminded that even the Saudi government does not think it has enough combat capability to safely steam in the Persian Gulf, and they LIVE there. Every formation the LCS/FF is assigned to will present limitations that almost far out-way it benefits via what capabilities it has, the limitations it places on the formation (UNREP requirements), with perhaps excepting the areas of aviation support and ASW capability, which is already a capability of every Cruiser (22) & Destroyer (63) in the force.

            With the advent of ‘Everyone is a Shooter’ coming our way with bolt-on systems, the CICs of auxiliaries and amphibians will have to grow (be upgraded), as well as the crew and Ward Room. Aviation capability is inherent in almost every USN/USNS platform and can bring many more things to the equation if so equipped. Thermion on deck as a standard for every flight deck in the fleet for example. Then we could launch an F-35B and its MV-22 Osprey tanker from almost anywhere for purposes to be determined. Versatility is coming to the force, but the LCS (even FF version) was not well thought out. Reminds me of Robert Strange McNamara days, and they are strange indeed.

          • The Plague

            Strange is the right word, I agree. On the one hand, the LCS is so unlike anything else the USN builds, both in terms of design and build, as though its very idea had been originated outside the Navy. On the other hand, Navy top brass seems to be championing the cause of the LCS even more so than the Pentagon bureaucracy itself. Can’t really sew a button on that, so to speak…

          • Curtis Conway

            Look at who is working where after they get out.

    • airider

      The sensor is the “easy part” for NIFC-CA. The combat system software and integration challenges that need to be worked is where the challenge will be.

      LCS is ill equipped right now to support anything in NIFC-CA. For the FF variant I doubt much will change simply because LCS-FF is all about cheap, and the mods needed to actually make it useful in a NIFC-CA environment are non-trivial and not cheap.

  • Curtis Conway

    “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.” Why waste the money on the rotating version, and all those moving parts that wear? Make the case! Non-rotating antennas have tactical advantages, particularly when one goes into self-defense fire control mode (tracking dwells). The 69 RMA version is capable of BMD duty. In a FORCEnet environment the data going into the system, regardless of platform, is game-changing. The amphibs will just add the radar space to the front and sides of the Island.

    • delta9991

      Only reason I could see was that the amphibs were never designed with the space or weight to support multiple fixed face arrays to give 360 coverage (as opposed to Ford class, with the 3 sided array planned for from the start). With a traditional rotating array they wouldn’t need the same face space or to support 3 times the weight of a single faced array. Plus, a rotating array could then be fitted to similar ships not designed for a fixed array (I’m pushing hard for the LCS array haha)

      • Curtis Conway

        Me too. The TRS-4 3D comes that way, but it would best to be an adjunct to the AMDR AN/SPY-6(V).

      • The Plague

        Exactly. The Burkes were designed from the start for fixed arrays, but still some pretty hefty design changes had to be implemented to accommodate AMDR. The change from a passive array with one big signal generator down in the hull to the large and heavy individual transmit-receive modules up in the superstructure was in no way trivial.

    • airider

      Different combat system type….plus a rotating radar is much cheaper. Dealing with the maintenance of electronic motors and a few gears is very straight forward. If you think fixed face arrays are cheap ask USFF what they’re paying for current SPY-1 maintenance.

      Cost does actually matter….and the performance gain with a rotating version of SPY-6 is a significant jump compared to current amphib radars that makes the trade space is worth it.

      • Curtis Conway

        That maintenance assessment is based on SPY-1 radar data of which there is decades of it to draw conclusions from. The AMDR will be much improved. I guess the EASR takes up the same space (or less) than the AN/SPS-48G(V)1?

        I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that the US Navy cannot have developed by now a non-rotating 3D radar with fixed array faces that would replace surface search radars, provide data to the gun(s), integrate with EO/IR, and maintain a coherent surface & low flyer picture from below horizon to zenith. This cannot be that hard, take up that much space, be highly reliable, and run 24/7/365. You know, a modern AN/SPS-10! I hope there is a 9-RMA version of the AMDR that can perform this task for it has the same coverage and fire control capability of the AN/SPY-1 we had on the Aegis Cruisers & Destroyers, but that makes too much sense. Three AN/APG-77, -79, -80, -81 or -83s back to back with 120° search sectors makes more sense than this?

  • ulises velez

    THE 21ST THE AMERICAN NAVAL POWER IS EMERGING.

  • The Plague

    The first really good news out of the surface fleet since I don’t know when.