The US Navy is going to equip its first DDG 51 Flight III Destroyers with next-generation weapons, including laser and electronic warfare, long-range precision-strike weapons, and also over-the-horizon missile attacks.
The main technological advancement here is Raytheon's AN/SPY-6 radar (previously known as Air and Missile Defence Radar), which is capable of detecting approaching threat objects twice as far away as most existing radars do.
"Threats manoeuvre differently, and the sooner you can verify what that object is and see if fast away, you can figure out what weapon to use against it", Scott Spence, Director for Naval Radar Systems for Integrated Defence Systems at Raytheon, told Warrior Maven.
The vast range of threats the SPY-6 radar is capable of identifying includes enemy drones, helicopters, low flying aircraft, and incoming ballistic missiles "on a single integrated system". According to Raytheon officials, the SPY-6 radar's efficiency is enabled through Gallium Nitride, a chemical compound semiconductor that can increase high-power signals at microwave frequencies.
The DDG 51 Flight III destroyer is a new class of warship, designed to augment the Navy's operations in the open seas.
In June, Raytheon completed its near-field range testing on the first SPY-6 radar array, Naval News reported, which allowed it to be installed on the USS Jack Lucas. "When SPY-6 radar arrays leave our radar development facility, they are ready to defend the surface fleet", Spence said at that time.