US Navy’s new radar passes simultaneous air and ballistic missile defense test

Illustration: A ballistic missile target is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) during an earlier test. Photo: US Navy

The U.S. Navy’s new AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) radar concluded a simultaneous air and ballistic missile defense (BMD) flight test off the west coast of Hawaii, September 7.

This was the latest in a series of tests for the radar which is to be fitted on the navy’s Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

AN/SPY-6(V) previously proved it is capable of tracking short, medium, and long-range ballistic missile targets.

The latest test required the radar to track both a short-range ballistic missile target and multiple air-to-surface cruise missile targets after they were simultaneously launched.

According to Naval Sea Systems Command, AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR searched for, detected and maintained track on all targets throughout the trajectories. The flight test, designated Vigilant Talon, is the third in a series of ballistic missile defense flight tests for the AN/SPY-6(V) AMDR.

“This radar was specifically designed to handle ballistic missiles and cruise missiles simultaneously, and it’s doing just that,” said Capt. Seiko Okano, major program manager for Above Water Sensors, Program Executive Office (PEO) Integrated Warfare Systems (IWS). “AMDR is successfully demonstrating performance in a series of increasingly difficult test events and is on track to deliver advanced capability to the Navy’s first Flight III Destroyer.”

Based on preliminary data, the test successfully met its primary objectives against a complex short range ballistic missile and multiple air-to-surface cruise missile simultaneous targets. Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

Having achieved Milestone C, ahead of schedule, the AN/SPY-6(V) program remains on track for delivery to the first DDG 51 Flight III destroyer.

AN/SPY-6(V) transitioned to Low Rate Initial Production with the May 1 contract award for the first three ship sets.

AN/SPY-6(V) provides greater capability – in range, sensitivity and discrimination accuracy – than currently deployed radars, increasing battlespace, situational awareness and reaction time to effectively counter current and future threats.

It is also the first scalable radar, built with Radar Modular Assemblies – radar building blocks. Each RMA, roughly 2′ x 2′ x 2′ in size, is a standalone radar that can be grouped to build any size radar aperture, from a single RMA to configurations larger than currently fielded radars.

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