The U.S. and Japan, along with the American firm Lockheed Martin, have conducted the first live tracking demonstration of the AN/SPY-7(V)1 solid-state radar integrated with the Aegis Weapon System, the company and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency announced.

The March 28 test was the first time this pairing — central to Japan’s Aegis System Equipped Vessel program dedicated to providing missile defense platforms — successfully detected and tracked an object in space, then passed along the data to the combat system for further processing.

The test took place at Lockheed Martin’s Production Test Center in Moorestown, New Jersey. The Missile Defense Agency led the test, with U.S. Navy Aegis program representatives and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel on hand.

A Lockheed Martin representative told Defense News this week that this was the first of a series of land-based tests the SPY-7 would go through before installation on the first Aegis System Equipped Vessel. This test involved one radar face; the next will involve all four radar faces, as Lockheed Martin ensures full system integration before shipping the hardware to Japan for installation on the first ship.

Japan expects to commission one Aegis System Equipped Vessel in March 2028 and another in March 2029. The ships will bring an integrated air and missile defense capability that will provide regional missile defense to the island nation.

The Lockheed-made SPY-7 radar is based on the same technology as the ground-based Long Range Discrimination Radar fielded at Clear Space Force Station, Alaska. That MDA-developed radar, which hit initial fielding in 2021, continues to go through testing. Its eventual delivery to the U.S. Space Force is delayed amid testing challenges.

Because the radar for the Japanese ships — smaller than the ground-based Long Range Discrimination Radar, but larger than the other shipboard radars — shares the same hardware and software backbone as the others in the program, much of the integration work was already done, the company said.

The ongoing round of live testing is meant to ensure the current iteration of hardware and software are fully integrated with the combat system, as a means of reducing risk before installing them on the ship.

Versions of the SPY-7 radar will also be fielded on the Spanish Navy’s F-110 frigate and the Canadian Surface Combatant.

Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.

More In MilTech