Mini-Aegis Possible for Corvette (or Cutter) Sized Ships

NavyRecognition reports on the presentation of the Raytheon’s AN/SPY6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar at the recently completed SEA-AIR-SPACE trade show.

This is the radar that has been selected to go on the Flight III version of the Burke class DDG. Most of the emphasis has been on larger installations, but the good news for the Coast Guard is that these systems are modular, based on two foot square elements than each constitute a separate radar, so that it can be scaled down as well as up. These fixed arrays would normally be arranged with four arrays positioned to each cover a 90 degree sector. Raytheon claims arrays consisting of nine elements arranged in a 3×3 square (6 ft x 6 ft) provides performance similar to the 12 foot octagonal AN/SPY-1D on existing Burke class DDGs. It appears the intention is that the Flight III ships will have roughly octagonal arrays consisting of 37 elements, 14 foot across. There is also an option for an even larger array of 69 elements in an octagonal 18 foot diameter array.

These radars are reportedly capable of performing virtually every type of radar function including air and surface search and firecontrol. Reportedly the radar will be “qualified” in 2017 and the initial operational capability will be attained in 2023, presumably with the first flight III DDG.

When might we consider using these?

The Bertholf was commissioned in 2008 so the class will start needing mid-life renovations some time after 2023.

The Offshore Patrol Cutter construction program is expected to be stretched out with funding over 15 years and deliveries will probably extend from FY2021 to FY2035. Over so long a period it would not be unreasonable to expect that there will be a “B class” with updated systems. By that time, these systems may be so common it may be reasonable to replace the planned radar suite with these fixed systems.

At the very least, at some point it might be advisable to convert at least one of each class to accept this or a similar system as a prototype for war emergency conversion. This might be something DOD would pay for.

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