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Navy Awards Next-Gen Radar Contract


The Navy awarded Raytheon a possible $1.6 billion deal to develop, manufacture and integrate a new air-and missile defense radar on Navy destroyers that is substantially more powerful and sensitive than existing radar systems used on ships today, service officials said.

The new radar, called Air and Missile Defense Radar, or AMDR, is slated for integration on the next-increment or Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in 2019, according to Navy spokesman Lt. Kurt Larson.

The contract was awarded Oct. 10. Initial funds for this deal are available despite the ongoing government shutdown because the money was budgeted for fiscal year 2013. During the shutdown, no new contracts can be awarded with fiscal year 2014 dollars unless they are for "excepted" activities because there are no approved funds.

The AMDR radar system is more powerful in its ability to detect and locate potential threats than the current Aegis AN/SPY-1D radar on ships today, service experts said.

“AMDR will see and differentiate between objects half the size and twice the distance of a SPY-1(D) radar,” Larson said

“Unlike the legacy SPY-1 (D) radar which is a passive phased array, AMDR will be an active array radar that will use gallium nitride semi-conductor technology. This allows AMDR to achieve much greater power efficiency with far less transmitter noise,” he added.

AMDR consists of S-band and X-band radars and a Radar Suite Controller, or RSC; together, these technologies are able to scan, track and search the horizon and surrounding area for potential threats by sending an electromagnetic signal into the atmosphere -- then analyzing the return signal of what it bounces off or hits; this information, generally speaking, can in many cases provide dimensions of an incoming threat, such as a missile, by identifying its size, shape, location and trajectory.

Similar to its predecessor, the Aegis AN/SPY-1D radar, the AMDR includes a phased-array radar, Navy officials indicated; the S-band radar is engineered for long-range detection and the engagement of advanced threats, whereas the X-band radar performs the over-the-horizon search capability.

“AMDR S-band is a new development radar providing sensitivity for long-range detection and advanced threats. The X-band radar is a horizon-search radar based on existing technology,” Larson said

“Under the contract, Raytheon will build, integrate and test the AMDR S-band and Radar Suite Controller engineering development models. For the ship sets covered under this contract, the AMDR suite will integrate with the existing AN/SPQ-9B X-band radar,” Larson said.

The base contract begins with design work leading to preliminary design review and culminates with system acceptance of the AMDR-S and RSC engineering development models at the end of testing at the Advanced Radar Detection Laboratory, Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kekaha, Hawaii, he said.

The contract includes options for procurement up to nine radars which may be exercised following a Milestone C procurement decision which is planned for fiscal year 2017.  The options, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $1.6 billion, Larson explained.

The AMDR radar is performing very well in its current technology development phase,  however the Navy is currently immersed in a series of technological adjustments or engineering change proposals needed so that that DDG 51’s can accommodate the new radar, Navy officials said

In particular, the DDG 51s will need more on-board power and more cooling capability integrated into the ship platform, Navy officials said. As a result, Navy officials are working on installing larger megawatt generators and cooling plants than are currently on the ship in order to accommodate the AMDR system.

Among other things, this involves changing the existing DDG 51’s 200-ton Air Conditioning plant to a 300-ton plant, Navy officials said.

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