This week, the U.S. Navy League held its annual Sea Air Space Exposition near the nation’s capital, highlighting recent advances in maritime warfighting technology. With over 300 exhibitors, there was a lot to see. The most important new system on display, though, may have been the SPY-6 radar that Raytheon has been developing for the Navy since 2013.
SPY-6V1, as it is officially designated, is unlike any air and missile defense radar that has come before. Using gallium nitride technology and modular design concepts, Massachusetts-based Raytheon has created a sensor that is infinitely scalable for any defensive role, delivering gains in performance that would have been unimaginable a generation ago.
The basic building block of SPY-6 is called a “radar modular assembly.” It is a self-contained radar in a 2-foot cube that can easily be connected with other cubes to form an array of any size. The more cubes you add, the more power can be applied to a problem. The Navy’s latest version of its multi-mission Arleigh Burke-class destroyer will have four arrays for 360-degree protection, each containing 37 cubes.