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Raytheon Wins Key US Navy Radar Competition

Oct. 10, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS   |   Comments
A Raytheon model of a Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer fitted with the company's Air Missile Defense Radar concept. Note the built-up superstructure above the bridge to accommodate the new radars.
A Raytheon model of a Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer fitted with the company's Air Missile Defense Radar concept. Note the built-up superstructure above the bridge to accommodate the new radars. (Christopher P. Cavas)
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The Flight IIA version of the Arleigh Burke class has a lower superstructure topped with communications radomes and a fire control director. This is the USS McCampbell. / MC3(SW) Declan Barnes / US Navy

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WASHINGTON — Raytheon’s years of trying to break Lockheed Martin’s near-stranglehold on the top rung of US Navy radar programs paid off Thursday with the service’s announcement that the electronics giant has won the contract to build a new radar for the Aegis Combat System.

Raytheon beat out Lockheed and Northrop Grumman to build the Air Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), a new dual-band system that will provide the electronic eyes for the Lockheed-produced Aegis system. The AMDR will replace SPY-1D radars in new-construction Aegis ships.

“We are confident in our AMDR solution, leveraging our decades of radar development and integration experience,” Carolyn Beaudry, a Raytheon spokeswoman, said Thursday after that award was made public. “We are eager to move forward and deliver this exceptional capability to the Navy.”

Plans call for the first AMDR ship to be ordered in fiscal 2016. AMDR-fitted Flight III ships will replace Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyers now in production.

Raytheon’s AMDR uses the existing SPQ-9B X-band horizon search radar and a newly developed S-band integrated air and missile defense radar designed for long-range detection and engagement of advanced threats. The radars are brought together through a radar suite controller (RSC) to integrate, coordinate and manage the system.

Raytheon will receive up to $1.63 billion to develop, test and deliver the AMDR. The initial contract announced Oct. 10 is a $385.7 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract, using $157 million in fiscal 2013 funding already appropriated.

The Navy is asking for $240 million in AMDR research and development funding in the 2014 budget request.

It is not yet clear what effect sequestration budget cuts could have on the Navy’s AMDR plans. Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, testified to Congress on Sept. 18 that with sequestration, “the new Air and Missile Defense Radar would be delivered on only four ships, as compared to seven under our PB-14 [President’s Budget for FY2014] submission, between 2021 and 2024.”

A key requirement for the AMDR is to be scalable. The version to be fitted on the Flight III destroyers, for example, is to have a diameter of 14 feet, while a larger and more powerful version can be fitted on bigger ships.

Controversy about the AMDR has focused on the basic Burke-class’s ability to supply enough electrical power and have the right stability characteristics to mount the sensors. Precise details of the system’s characteristics remain classified.

This year, Lockheed withstood a challenge from Raytheon and Boeing to take over management of the Aegis system. The Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA) contract awarded March 4 gave the company — which along with the Navy developed the system starting in the 1970s — management rights over Aegis through May 2018.

As a sub-contractor, Raytheon also produces key components of the Aegis system. The company also makes the Standard surface-to-air missiles that equip all Aegis cruisers and destroyers and that have been adapted to the anti-ballistic missile defense role.

The CSEA contract is part of a series of reforms led by Sean Stackley, the Navy’s top acquisition official, to inject more competition into the service’s business relationships. Strenuous efforts to turn previously proprietary systems like Aegis into open architecture configurations also are a major aspect of that effort.

The AMDR competition was fought by Lockheed, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. Stackley — by all accounts a stern task master — has been routinely upbeat when discussing what he’s seen from the AMDR competition.

Northrop also makes the SPQ-9B radar forming the X-band portion of Raytheon’s AMDR.

The victory by Raytheon impressed at least one Wall Street analyst, who noted a trend after July’s win of the Next Generation Jammer development contract, a key element in the Navy’s airborne electronic attack mission. Raytheon won over BAE, Northrop Grumman and ITT Exelis. BAE is protesting that decision.

“Put this back to back with the next generation jammer, they surprised a lot of people with that,” said Byron Callan, a defense market analyst with Capital Alpha Partners.

“They’re clearly doing something right from a research and development standpoint to basically pick up two franchise programs and knock off entrenched competitions,” Callan noted. “Raytheon has emphasized they’re trying to protect investment in R&D.”

Lockheed spokesman Keith Little expressed the company’s dismay at the Navy’s decision.

“Lockheed Martin is very disappointed to learn the US Navy has not selected us to procure the next generation Air and Missile Defense Radar system,” he said Thursday evening. “We believe we presented the most affordable solution, founded on decades of performance with naval radar systems. We will await the Navy’s de-brief in order to understand why we were not selected and evaluate our next steps.

“At the same time, we remain fully committed to supporting the Navy on the Aegis and SPY radar programs.”

Here is the official announcement released Thursday by Naval Sea Systems Command:

“Raytheon is being awarded a $385,742,176 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the engineering and modeling development phase design, development, integration, test and delivery of Air and Missile Defense S-Band Radar (AMDR-S) and Radar Suite Controller (RSC). AMDR is the Navy’s next generation integrated air and missile defense radar and is being designed for Flight III Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) class destroyers beginning in 2016.

“AMDR consists of an S-band radar, an X-band radar and a Radar Suite Controller. AMDR-S is a new development integrated air and missile defense radar designed for long range detection and engagement of advanced threats. The X-band radar is an existing horizon-search radar. The RSC provides S- and X-band radar resource management, coordination and interface to the Aegis combat system.

“Under the contract, Raytheon will build, integrate and test the AMDR-S and RSC Engineering Development Models (EDMs). For the ship sets covered under this contract, the AMDR suite will integrate with the existing AN/SPQ-9B X-band radar. 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.

“This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $1,633,363,781. Previously appropriated FY13 funding in the amount of $156,960,000 will be obligated at time of award.

“This contract includes options for manufacturing low-rate initial production systems which may be exercised following Milestone C planned for fiscal year 2017.

“This contract was awarded following a full and open competition, with three offers received.”

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