US Navy tests newest shipboard radar – “detects targets other systems miss”

Just as news reports are circulating of an escalation in maritime attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Adeb, the US Navy has announced two successful tests of the AN/SPY-6 – the service’s newest shipboard radar – during which the system detected, tracked and engaged targets reportedly missed by older radars.

Media interviews with senior USN personnel highlight the demonstrably successful nature of the tests, which took place in September and December last year on the USS Jack H Lucas, a Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, characterising system performance as “fantastic”. The destroyer will now proceed to Hawaii for further radar testing prior to a planned declaration of initial operational capability in August.

The Raytheon-built AN/SPY-6 is, in effect, a family of radars: the SPY-6(V)1 – the largest and most capable, intended for the Flight III destroyers; the smaller SPY-6(V)2 for amphibious vessels and Nimitz-class aircraft carriers; the SPY-6(V)3 for frigates and Ford-class carriers; and the SPY-6(V)4 being retrofitted to Flight IIA Arleigh Burkes under the DDG Mod 2.0 programme.

USN Program Manager, Capt Jesse Mink, told delegates at the Surface Navy conference in January that “the idea is, we continue to learn every time a ship goes to sea, every test that occurs — maybe it’s not on the same ship class, maybe it’s not the same version, but that code will be reused so that we don’t have to test it again”.

At a time when naval concerns are focusing increasingly on the threat to maritime operations from missiles and unmanned systems – both airborne and waterborne – the emergence of greater discriminatory capability is a welcome boon indeed.

For more information: News | SPY-6: The future of naval defense has arrived | Raytheon (

(Image: The US Navy is installing SPY-6 radars on 29 new vessels, replacing 40-year-old radars with more capable, more effective systems. Credit: Raytheon Missiles & Defense)

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