The US Navy is gearing up for the future of warfare, equipping its entire surface fleet with next-generation radars that can identify and track enemy missiles and aircraft in a single system, investing $651 million in aerospace and defense giant Raytheon Missiles & Defense (RMD) in the process.

RMD, part of the global aerospace and defense giant Raytheon Technologies, bagged the multimillion-dollar deal, representing an option of potentially bringing the cumulative value of the deal as high as 3.16 billion dollars.

SPY-6 radar is much more sensitive than its 40-year-old predecessor, says RMD. Its state-of-the-art detection capabilities and more accurate discrimination allow sailors to find and track enemy missiles and fighter jets at greater distances and faster speeds.

With the contract, RMD will integrate the SPY-6(V)4 radar on the first Flight IIA guided missile destroyers in 2026, the first that this hybrid will be installed on a ship.

This most recent upgrade is the second option exercised from a contract for production, hardware, and maintenance, with a value summing up to $3.16 billion over five years.

Wes Kremer, President of Raytheon Missiles & Defense, noted that the US Navy award underscores the significance behind design development and production capabilities – as nothing else on the market offers comparable maritime coverage like these cutting-edge radar systems technologies do today. This innovative SPY-6 family technology was developed specifically for maritime capabilities to ensure national security needs are met on sea or land as tensions continue across the globe. 

Kremer also remarked that “there is no other radar with surface maritime capabilities of SPY-6, and this award highlights the importance of its design and future production for the Navy. SPY-6 is the most advanced naval radar, and it will provide a giant leap forward in capability for the military for decades to come.” 

With these new radars installed on every ship in their fleet–from small patrol vessels to massive aircraft carriers–they can simultaneously gain unparalleled surveillance capability against incoming enemy missiles and planes. 

RMD Naval Radars Senior Program Director Mike Mills said in a company statement that Raytheon is ready to take on naval missions of all sizes for the US and its allies, armed with the defense giant’s “decades of experience as a mission and systems integrator of defense solutions.”

SPY-6 is a paradigm shift in radar technology, providing sailors with improved situational awareness, enhanced ballistic missile defense, reduced maintenance and downtime, and increased range. It’s designed to keep sailors safe and missions successful.”

Analysts observe that with this implementation, America’s naval power will be further bolstered against potential adversaries while advancing their mission objectives worldwide through advanced situational awareness provided by these new systems acquired via the Raytheon multimillion-dollar contract. 


From Penlight To Floodlight

The US Navy’s new guided missile destroyer, USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), has officially launched, flaunting four state-of-the-art SPY 6 radars designed to detect threats such as hypersonic weapons at greater distances than ever before – allowing sailors to respond faster in dangerous situations.

Kim Ernzen, Naval Power president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense, says the newfound technology upgrade advantage is like “going from a penlight to a huge flashlight.” He expressed optimism about the Navy’s foray into state-of-the-art technology. 

SPY-6 is the most advanced naval radar in the world, providing unprecedented integrated air and missile defense capabilities,” Ernzen pointed outIntegration into the US fleet is well underway, with SPY-6 operating on the Navy’s first, new Flight III destroyer. This contract enables the radar to be added to more ships, including the first of existing Flight IIA destroyers that will be modernized.”

SPY-6 radar technology includes four arrays, a power system, a cooling system, and back end processor, which will ensure that any incoming signals are calculated efficiently by the crew members onboard DDG 125 class ships.

Successfully launched last June 4, 2021, at the Huntington Ingalls Industries in Mississippi, USS Jack H. Lucas is among the first of many ships to receive the spy-6 radar system, a technological breakthrough strengthening the US naval defense capabilities forward.

Representing a significant advancement for the US Navy, the Spy-6 radar system technology equips sailors of DDG 125 with unprecedented situational awareness—allowing them to detect and respond faster than ever.

A Cornerstone For The Navy

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Raytheon Program Area Director for Naval Radars Scott Spence predicts that by the end of its contract, 46 ships in the US Navy will leverage this groundbreaking technology with support from an efficient standard logistics system and robust training program designed especially for sailors on board these vessels. 

Spence said it ultimately establishes SPY-6 as a vital component powering advanced capabilities at sea, essential in safeguarding maritime security.  

“We can scale it for frigates and other classes of ships, And we can add capabilities across all those platforms seamlessly and quickly. This contract cements SPY-6 as a cornerstone for the Navy. 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.”

Raytheon’s $500 Million Commitment For The Spy-6 Infrastructure

RMD officials announced that the worldwide enterprise had committed a substantial investment of more than $500 million towards the infrastructure and capacity improvements for SPY-6, in addition to leveraging sophisticated automation at their Radar Development Facility.

This 30,000-square-foot center boasts an Immersive Design Center that helps configure factories and refine processes.

In addition to utilizing its Immersive Design Center to configure and optimize factory settings, 75% of radar systems integrated by Raytheon have been shared from critical suppliers across America – making it a notable accomplishment within the defense industry.

Spence pointed out that RMD experts have “completely streamlined the building and testing of SPY-6 to meet high-rate production.”

“There’s a great deal of work across our supply base, across the country, to make this family of radars a success,” he further stressed

Continued Joint Efforts Between Raytheon and the US Navy

Raytheon has partnered with the Office of Naval Research.

RMD also announced that it is pushing production boundaries with more of its US Navy collaborations to engineer radar capabilities for tomorrow.  

In 2021, RMD partnered with the Office of Naval Research, completing successful testings at Virginia’s Wallops Island Test Facility on Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR). 

The EASR comprises SPY-6(V)2 and SPY-6(V)3 radars optimized for anti-air warfare detection, air traffic control monitoring, weather operations, and power systems.  

The joint testing project unveiled the EASR’s SPY-6(V)2 rotating radars, designed to outmatch single-function legacy models while ensuring a long-range performance that exceeds current standards. 

Raytheon and the Navy’s joint goal of introducing the SPY-6 radar technology across naval defense platforms worldwide are to replace single-function legacy radar offerings while helping maintain maximum performance range in critical areas.

Raytheon is hopeful about potential customers from Japan and South Korea. 

Despite these advances’ optimism, Hudson Institute senior fellow Bryan Clark suggested caution when considering the electronic traceability risk associated with such an active system. Limiting passive detection may be one way to counter adversary access tracking capabilities.

Clark earlier pointed out in earlier statements that some challenges still need to be tackled, including the task of preventing adversaries from being able to detect location through passive recognition methods when using such a powerful radar.