DRS Laurel to build missile-defense radar systems to protect Navy surface warships from anti-ship missiles

Oct. 10, 2022
AN/SPQ-9B X-band pulse-Doppler radar defends against low flying cruise missiles, slow-flying aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and helicopters.

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 shipboard 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 $8.7 million order to DRS Laurel last month to build AN/SPQ-9B radar systems and support equipment.

DRS in April 2018 displaced Northrop Grumman Corp. as the Navy's AN/SPQ-9B shipboard radar contractor in a $64.3 million deal. That contract, which combined purchases for the Navy and the government of Japan, included options that could bring its cumulative value to $263 million.

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.

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The missile-defense radar is designed for the littoral environment in harbors and along coastlines, rejects clutter, and has a low false track rate in the littorals and in other 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 for 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. Below decks, the radar consists of processor, receiver/exciter, and transmitter cabinets; radar set control; and motor generator.

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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 order DRS Laurel will do the work in Largo, Fla., and should be finished by May 2025. For more information contact DRS Laurel Technologies online at www.leonardodrs.com/locations/naval-electronics-laurel-technologies-johnstown-pa, or Naval Sea Systems Command at www.navsea.navy.mil.

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