DRS Laurel to build clutter-rejecting AN/SPQ-9B missile-defense radar to help protect Navy ships

May 3, 2018
WASHINGTON – U.S. Navy missile-defense experts are asking the DRS Laurel Technologies segment of Leonardo DRS in Johnstown, Pa., to provide AN/SPQ-9B anti-ship missile defense (ASMD) radar systems to help protect U.S. Navy warships from enemy anti-ship missiles.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Navy missile-defense experts are asking the DRS Laurel Technologies segment of Leonardo DRS in Johnstown, Pa., to provide AN/SPQ-9B anti-ship missile defense (ASMD) radar systems to help protect U.S. Navy surface warships from enemy anti-ship missiles.

Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington announced a $64.3 million contract to DRS Laurel last week to build as many as 59 AN/SPQ-9B ASMD radar systems and related equipment. With this contract DRS Laurel displaces the AN/SPQ-9B incumbent contractor Northrop Grumman Corp.

This contract includes options that could bring its cumulative value to $263 million. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy and the government of Japan.

The AN/SPQ-9B is an X-Band pulse-Doppler frequency-agile radar that scans out to the horizon and performs simultaneous and automatic air and surface target detection and tracking of low flying anti-ship cruise missiles, surface threats, low-and-slow-flying aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and helicopters.

The system is connected to shipboard missiles and machine guns for engaging incoming threats.

Related: Navy approaches industry for technologies available for future X-band ship self-defense radar

The radar is designed for the littoral environment in harbors and along coastlines, and has high clutter improvement factor supporting a very low false track rate in the littorals and in high-clutter environments. Its design makes the most of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and non-developmental item (NDI) equipment.

The unattended radar consists of four air-cooled below-deck cabinets, a motor generator, and one above-deck antenna unit designed for low-radar-cross-section reflectivity appropriate for stealth ship design.

The AN/SPQ-9B is aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, cruisers, Coast Guard maritime security cutters, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, and allied cruisers and destroyers.

Above decks, the radar uses a mechanically rotating, electronically stabilized antenna. The 1,500-pound antenna consists of dual planar arrays mounted back-to-back, each connected to independent transmitters and receivers.

Related: Systems Planning receives share of Navy's ramping-up shipboard self-defense radar initiative

Below decks, the radar consists of processor, receiver/exciter, and transmitter cabinets; radar set control; and motor generator.

The processor cabinet performs signal processing, tracking, and interface functions. The receiver/exciter has three receivers, and generates system frequencies and clocks. The transmitter cabinet receives the RF pulses from the receiver/exciter and amplifies them for output to the antenna. The radar set control provides remote control and monitoring of radar operation in the ship's combat information center. The output of each receiver is converted to digital baseband I-Q data for Doppler processing in the processor cabinet. The system has an auxiliary antenna for electronic counter-countermeasures.

The AN/SPQ-9B radar has digital interfaces to the Aegis combat systems, the MK 34 gun weapon system (GWS), the MK 48 GWS, the Cooperative Engagement Capability, and ship self defense system.

On this contract DRS Laurel will do the work in Largo, Fla., and Johnstown, Pa., and should be finished by June 2022. For more information contact DRS Laurel Technologies online at www.leonardodrs.com/locations/drs-laurel-technologies-johnstown-pa, or Naval Sea Systems Command at www.navsea.navy.mil.

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About the Author

John Keller | Editor

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

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