WASHINGTON — Raytheon and the US Navy are at work setting up the first Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) on the shores of Kauai Island in Hawaii, aiming to begin testing on the Pacific Missile Range Facility in a few weeks.

"We just completed the initial low-power light-off of the array," Tad Dickenson, Raytheon's AMDR program director, said Thursday. "We have permission to radiate at high power, and we're working to get to satellite tracking by end of summer."

The radar, designated SPY-6(V) by the Navy, will lock on to an orbiting sphere also being tracked by a number of other sensors in an effort to calibrate the AMDR's accuracy, Dickenson said. More tests will follow to test for electro-magnetic interference, then on to warfare tests to include anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense.

The tests, Dickenson added, are expected to continue through fiscal 2017, which ends in September 2017.

The AMDR will replace SPY-1D radars on new Aegis warships beginning with DDG 127, a yet-to-be-named Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to be ordered from General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.

The scalable sensor - - meant to scale up for larger warships with more installed power and down for smaller vessels – is key to the Aegis system's ability to track and defeat enemy air and ballistic missile targets.

Raytheon's AMDR test installation features the faceted radar, at lower left, fitted into a rotating structure.

Photo Credit: Raytheon

A long-lead material funding contract from the Navy is expected "soon," Dickenson said, with full funding will follow after a successful Pentagon Milestone C review, planned by September 2017. That milestone in turn leads to the low-rate initial production phase.

The AMDR on Kauai is not considered a prototype, Dickenson said, but rather is a "full-scale, production-representative system that is manufacture-ready. It's ready to go into production now."

The program's engineering and development phase is about 80 percent complete, he added, with work continuing on final software builds and system validation.

The first operational SPY-6(V) radar is scheduled to be delivered in 2019 for installation on DDG 127.

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