Shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls recently announced
that the first steps towards constructing the first Flight III Destroyer have been taken. The destroyer ‘Jack Lucas’ will join the Navy’s fleet in 2024. The vessel is modelled after the 73 Arleigh-Burke class destroyers already in service, but it will be a very different, more capable killer than its predecessors. ‘Jack Lucas’ gets its extra punch by adding Raytheon’s newly developed AN/SPY-6
air and missile defense radar. The Flight III is a major overhaul of the guided-missile destroyer. It required a 45 percent redesign of the hull, most of which was done to accommodate the AN/SPY-6 and its formidable power needs. The Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) has been procured through a competition between Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. The AMDR-S provides wide-area volume search, tracking, Ballistic Missile Defense discrimination, missile communications and defense against very low observable and very low flyer threats in heavy land, sea, and rain clutter. In addition, the AMDR-X provides horizon search, precision tracing, missile communications, and final illumination guidance to targets. The AN/SPY-6 is 30 times more sensitive than its predecessor, its additional sensitivity supercharges the vessel’s capabilities in anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense.
Rather than using that existing Dual-Band Radar design in new surface combatant ships, however, the “Air and Missile Defense Radar” (AMDR) aims to fulfill DG-51 Flight III destroyer needs through a new competition for a similar dual-band radar. It could end up being a big deal for the winning radar manufacturer, and for the fleet. If, and only if, the technical, power, and weight challenges can be mastered at an affordable price.