SPY-6: A versatile and powerful radar in high demand

The U.S. Navy is putting the advanced AN/SPY-6 naval radar on 29 new ships. It will add this system to the first existing ships, starting with a $619 million contract with Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business.

The SPY-6 radar is significantly more sensitive than the 40-year-old predecessor it’s replacing. Its enhanced detection capability and more accurate discrimination allow sailors to find and track enemy missiles and fighter jets simultaneously, faster, and at greater distances.

“SPY-6 is a paradigm shift in radar technology, providing sailors with improved situational awareness, enhanced ballistic missile defense, reduced maintenance and downtime, and increased range,” said Mike Mills, senior program director of Naval Radars at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “It’s designed to keep sailors safe and missions successful.”

With the award, Raytheon Missiles & Defense will integrate the SPY-6(V)4 radar onto the first Flight IIA guided missile destroyers in 2026, marking the first time this variant will be installed on a ship. This latest upgrade is the second option exercised from a hardware, production, and sustainment contract valued at up to $3.16 billion over five years.

The SPY-6 radar comprises many smaller radars called Radar Modular Assemblies – 2x2x2 boxes arranged to fit on any ship and function for any mission. It can include as few as four RMAs or as many as 57, meaning it can go on smaller ships such as frigates and unmanned vessels and larger ships such as the next-generation destroyers.

“We have decades of experience as a mission and systems integrator of defense solutions, so we are ready to meet a variety of size needs and missions for the U.S. and its allies,” Mills said. “Scalability cuts production costs because we aren’t developing something new for every ship or variant.”


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