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NAVSEA: New SPY-6 Radar Scores in Ballistic Missile Defense Test

Test array for the AN/SPY-6(v) at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii. Raytheon Photo

The radar bound for the Navy’s new Flight III Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers successfully tracked a complex ballistic missile target as part of a battery of tests to prove out the new system, Naval Sea Systems Command announced on Thursday.

The Raytheon-built AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), based at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai Hawaii, detected and tracked medium-range ballistic missile target for the test on July 27, 2017, NAVSEA said.

“We are continuing to stress this radar by increasing the range and complexity of the targets and demonstrating the… capability and versatility of the Navy’s next generation Integrated Air and Missile Defense radar,” said Navy Capt. Seiko Okano, major program manager for Above Water Sensors, Program Executive Office (PEO) Integrated Warfare Systems (IWS).

According NAVSEA, “based on preliminary data, the test successfully met its primary objectives against a complex medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) target. Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.”

The Vigilant Titan test is the second in a series of BMD tests for the systems that will replace the Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1D(V) volume search radar resident on the current Flight IIA on the Navy’s Flight III variants of the Burkes.

“The testing … has evaluated the radar’s ability to track satellites, aircraft, and ballistic missiles,” according to the June issue of Proceedings.
“In mid-March, in an exercise called Vigilant Hunter, the radar successfully acquired and tracked a short-range ballistic missile target.”
AMDR promises 30 times more sensitivity than the current crop of SPYs and designed to find and track traditional air warfare and ballistic missile threats simultaneously for the new Flight III ships.

Huntington Ingalls Industries was awarded an engineering change proposal to build the first Flight III in June.

Artists rendering of the first planned Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyer, Jack H. Lucas. HII Photo

Artists rendering of the first planned Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyer, Jack H. Lucas. HII Photo

The following is the complete Aug. 3, 2017 release from Naval Sea Systems Command.

AUG03-01: U.S. Navy successfully conducts AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) Ballistic Missile Test
By Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems

PACIFIC MISSLE RANGE, KAUAI, Hawaii — The U.S. Navy successfully conducted another Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) flight test with the AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) off the west coast of Hawaii, July 27.

At 2:05 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time (8:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) a medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR searched for, detected and maintained track on the target throughout its trajectory. The flight test, designated Vigilant Titan, is the second in a series of ballistic missile defense flight tests for the AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR.

“We are continuing to stress this radar by increasing the range and complexity of the targets and demonstrating the awesome capability and versatility of the Navy’s next generation Integrated Air and Missile Defense radar.” said Navy Capt. Seiko Okano, major program manager for Above Water Sensors, Program Executive Office (PEO) Integrated Warfare Systems (IWS). “AN/SPY-6 is the nation’s most advanced radar and will be the cornerstone of the U.S. Navy’s surface combatants for many decades.”

Based on preliminary data, the test successfully met its primary objectives against a complex medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) target. Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

The culmination of over a decade of Navy investment in advanced radar technology, AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR is being designed for the DDG 51 Flight III destroyer to provide the U.S. Navy with state-of-the-art technology for integrated air and missile defense.

PEO IWS, an affiliated PEO of the Naval Sea Systems Command, manages surface ship and submarine combat technologies and systems and coordinates Navy enterprise solutions across ship platforms.

-30-

 

  • NavySubNuke

    Well at least some part of the system can regularly score – even if others have an annoying tendency to strike out.

    • sferrin

      Blind squirrels, broken clocks, etc.

      • Curtis Conway

        I remember the FIRST deployment of Tico, and we burnt out the Mk13 Clock Switch Converter, which at that time was a single point failure for the combat system. No such animals in the later versions.

  • Curtis Conway

    The most interesting part of this piece is the picture. The AN/SPQ-9B sitting on top was not mentioned, and I suspect the presence and inferred integration of this very valuable tracking system, perhaps providing tippers to the AN/SPY-6(V) as an ASCM detection net, should be a standard installation on any AMDR/SPY-6 equipped surface combatant.

    • Beomoose

      SPQ-9b integrated with AMDR-S/SPY-6 on the first batch of Flight III destroyers has been NAVSEA’s plan for several years, USNI News has reported on it and posted reports discussing it for years as well.

      • USNVO

        I believe they ultimately want to embed the S band and X band modules in the same array.

        • S band and X band modules in the same array – not going to happen. Phase centers of the radiating elements won’t allow it – unless you’re willing to accept unreasonably high sidelobes.

          • USNVO

            Well, I have seen the Raytheon proposal, they seem confident it will work at least theoretically. There is plenty of room between the larger S band modules for the X band ones and as long as your X-band modules are spaced some multiple of the appropriate distance apart it just becomes an issue of programming your software. The S band array is so large you can easily get the desired number of X band module numbers even if they are spaced out quite a bit, not sure that it would be worth the added complexity and challenges of putting them together but there is no reason you can’t do it. Well besides the whole cost and simplicity factor.

          • I’d nix the idea based on dissipation alone. Two radars in the same place at the same time tend to heat each other up. The aperture is already small if you’re doing BMD search and track simultaneously. Why go double density and raise the dissipation factor. Maybe they aren’t going to illuminate at X – that will lower the dissipation.

    • airider

      SPQ-9B is interim solution for horizon search in the X-band. AMDR is S-Band. There weren’t enough “bongo bucks” to pay for new X-band and S-band at same time. X- band replacement should be next.

      It’ll be interesting to see if AMDR-X is restarted or if this is aligned under EASR

      • So do you figure that there are enough “bongo bucks” this time around to make that AMDR-X perform the illuminator function too or do we keep the SPGs?
        Maybe SM-6 takes over everything and we get rid of the SPGs. So many ways to engineer the system and Brand X makes money however you do it.

        • airider

          You gave several options which have some dependencies. As long as SM-2 Blk III’s are in the inventory, the Navy will need x-band illuminators. If the Navy goes to an active SM-2 and does some backfit, the illuminator part could be minimized and the uplink to the SM-2 could be switched to an S-band uplink.

          If an AMDR-X is produced it’ll likely remove the need for the SPG-62’s.

          SM-6 will still need mid-course guidance updates for long range shots, so something will still need to provided that via S or X band.

          The big thing with all of this that needs to be assessed is duty cycle. If continuous illumination is required, that will put a strain on AMDR-X. This is similar to your cell phone. If you’re just sending data, it can happen in power efficient bursts. If you are making a voice call, you need continuous transmission and reception to provide the service needed for intelligible two way voice conversations.

          Also, people keep focusing on +15dB…more signal also means more noise and the need for more clutter rejection, target differentiation and with it processing power so that part of the discussion doesn’t “float my boat.” (Tico had to deal with this initially with SPY-1A via UYK-7 computers so it’s not a new problem) What does is the ability to increase the revisit rates on targets and decrease the amount of time it takes to search the entire volume of space around the ship and balancing that with BMD which is concerned with high power, long range tracking.

          • They will probably phase out SM-2 sooner or later. You can always dumb down a SM-6 and make it think that it’s a SM-2 if you still have illuminators and the target’s close enough. There probably are fewer sea reflection problems with illumination coming from a low elevation – which is why you’d want to do this. With ESSM, the target’s closer, so you probably wouldn’t need the full power of a SPG-62. Good candidate for an AESA with an illuminator mode. The uplink on SM is S or X. If you’re talking long range, you’re better off with S.

          • airider

            Concur…I guess we’ll see if there is a backfit upgrade for SM-2 or a “cheaper” variant of SM-6 (e.g. no Mk72 booster).

            Navy committed to support SM-2 past 2035…so we’ll see what happens.

          • Curtis Conway

            Increased production rates could be via licensed production of some Standard Missile components by South Korea and Japan. Probably want to keep the high tech stuff here, but body, fins and actuators would be very possible.

          • Curtis Conway

            Moore’s Law has brought us a long way down that road even in US Navy computational capability. That is what COTS and Open Architecture is all about, being able to take tactical advantage of that computational/technological capability.

          • I knew that if I mentioned AESA, Curtis would chime in. Thanks for all the upvotes BTW.

            I think that we’ve both been in the business long enough to be able to spell RADAR forwards and backwards.

          • Bubblehead

            ESSM will not have active radar for a few more years also.

  • Bailey Zhang

    Can Navy put an 49RMA variant or 69RMA variant on DDG1000 class? Worry SPY-3 MFR not good enough

    • r3mu511

      FWIW, in the 2012 GAO report on what was to become the DDG-51 Flight III (see: report #GAO-12-113, p.47), BIW submitted designs to the Navy that would allow for a 21-foot radar array to be fit to the DDG-1000 superstructure. In comparison, the 69 RMA AMDR variant is approximately 18-feet in size, so the assumption would be that this can fit in the proposal from BIW.

      • OleBillyNye

        I was really wondering about this. Thanks for the information.

  • Duane

    Questions, not a comment:

    The scale of the SPY-6 seems huge, judging by the ladder at the lower right. Does this view represent the sensor package that sits atop the ship? Can’t judge weight from a photo (depends on what’s inside) but seems potentially, at least, a very heavy weight to mount on top of a ship that is not really all that large. Does it mount directly to the top of the superstructure, or on top of an antenna mast? The artist’s rendering of the Flight III with the article doesn’t seem to show anything like what is shown in the photo.

    • John

      That top photo is just the land based testing unit I think. The ‘stop’ sign shaped part of it is what you can easily identify on the ships. I am guessing the rest of what is in the top photo is equipment that would be mounted throughout the ship.

      • Duane

        Thanks, John.

        The stop sign looking part does appear to be the AESA sensor, and if that part is built into the superstructure, then perhaps the other array on top that Curtis Conway mentioned might be the only part mounted on an antenna mast, while the rest of what is visible in the photo as you say is built into the superstructure.

        Anyway, it would be helpful if the authors of posts would provide at least paragraph or caption describing what is in the photo posted with the article.

        • USNVO

          The test site at PMR is just a single array that is mounted on a trainable system, I assume so they can test various aspects of the radar easier. The SPY-1 prototype was also a single array but it was on a ship so they could just turn the entire ship if required. The shipboard installation will be just like the SPY-1 on the DDGs.

          • Duane

            Thanks, USNVO.

            For those of us like me who aren’t knowledgeable of these units (I came from the sub service, so big air search radars are not part of my knowledge base), it’s helpful to understand what the photo shows.

            btw – I appreciate most if not all of your comments here, you’re not a spouter and a ranter, just common sense thoughtful commentary .. and you seem to zero in to the relevant issues in most threads.

          • Curtis Conway

            Single array at CSEDS (SPY-1D was on the other side). two arrays on USS Norton Sound (AV-11/AVM-1), which simulated half a Cruiser installation . . . and don’t forget the UPX-29 IFF 64 array face on every CG-47/DDG-51 mast.

        • The size of the SPY-6 array is currently comparable to the SPY-1, since it has to go on a Burke. Not sure about the weight of the antenna, however they did have to remove one of the anchors on the Flight IIIs (as a submariner, having only a single anchor, Duane is OK with that – as for the rest of you skimmers, try to guess where the submarine’s anchor is).

          I think that the plug above the S-Band array is provision for an X-Band AESA. There is also an advantage of having an AESA on a turret (as Cobra Judy did). If you can keep the target near the antenna boresight by rotating in azimuth, you reduce aperture fill time which has a favorable effect on wide band signal processing.

  • J_kies

    Modest comment – SPY+15 is the notional scaling for the AMDR. As it must backfit into the same physical plant support (and array into the deckhouse holes) that puts some constraints onto what is +15dB. Based on the constraints and the physics involved its most appropriate to state that its SPY + 15dB in average power. Gaining a lot more duty cycle makes the radar far more robust in resources to manage the air-battle and BMD missions simultaneously. That is not the same thing as the comment in the story above about 30x sensitivity. Peak power is the defining aspect of ‘sensitivity’ and due to ordinary issues of capable radars against threat environments multiple pulse stacking techniques have serious constraints.

    Its a significantly better radar for the multiple missions for the Aegis classes. Its not a magical means to make the other BMD radars irrelevant.

    • Marauder 2048

      “. As it must backfit into the same physical plant support (and array
      into the deckhouse holes) that puts some constraints onto what is +15dB”

      SPY-6 has a physically larger aperture than SPY-1D(V)

      • J_kies

        Strictly speaking its a ‘bit’ larger, when I looked at the details pre-EMD it wasn’t significant in terms of P*A*G contribution. To my understanding, naval architects did not rebalance the AB flight III design for mass at height. Personally I regard it as a nice constrained engineering job to gain capabilities into a defined envelope.

    • r3mu511

      The “more than 30x sensitivity” actually comes directly from Raytheon infographics on the AMDR (see p.10-11 in http://www.raytheon.com/news/rtnwcm/groups/public/documents/image/amdr-infographic-pdf.pdf, ie. +15 dB = ~31.62).