Raytheon’s Tucson-based Missiles & Defense division has been awarded a $651 million contract — which can grow to $3.2 billion with options — to produce and maintain new radars for dozens of U.S. Navy ships.
The radars are part of the integrated SPY-6 family, designed to defend against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, hostile aircraft and surface ships simultaneously, Raytheon said. They increase detection range, sensitivity and discrimination over legacy radars, also bringing advanced electronic warfare protection to the fleet, the company said.
“There is no other radar with the surface maritime capabilities of SPY-6,” Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense, said in a statement. “SPY-6 is the most advanced naval radar in existence, and it will provide our military a giant leap forward in capability for decades to come.”
The systems can also detect hypersonic weapons from farther away than current systems.
“It’s a vast improvement over what the U.S. Navy currently has on it ships,” Kim Ernzen, Naval Power president at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, in a statement. “It’s like going from a pen light to a huge flashlight.”
The variants of the SPY-6 family all use the same hardware and software and use between nine and 37 modular assemblies. Raytheon said the modular design makes them more reliable, less expensive to maintain and easier to upgrade, without the need for new hardware installations.
Raytheon’s contract includes software upgrades over the SPY-6 family’s lifetime.
The systems also allow for standardized logistics and training for sailors who work on and use the radars, and the fact that they are made of building blocks makes them adaptable for different kinds of ships.
“We can scale it for frigates and other classes of ships,” Scott Spence, program area director for naval radars at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, said in a statement. “And, we can add capabilities across all those platforms very seamlessly and quickly.”
Spence said the contract makes SPY-6 a “cornerstone” for the Navy. More than $600 million has already been invested in developing the systems.
The company said the systems will be employed on seven types of Navy ships over the next 40 years, including the new Arleigh Burke class Flight III destroyers, aircraft carriers and amphibious ships. In addition, the radars will be upgrades on existing Flight IIA destroyers.
Raytheon said that by the end of the contract, the radar will be on more than 45 ships across the Navy.
The SPY-6 radar has already been installed on the Navy’s first Aegis Flight III destroyer, the USS Jack H. Lucas, which is scheduled to be operational in 2024. Components have been delivered for another ship to be built in that class, the USS Ted Stevens. The SPY-6 radar systems for that class of ship includes four arrays, a power system, a cooling system and a back-end processor.
The Tucson division is part of Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX), which is headquartered in Massachusetts. Work on the radars will be done in several locations across the country, including in Scottsdale.