Navy arms first new Flight III destroyer with next-gen weapons

Laser weapons, electronic warfare, long-range precision-strike weapons, and over-the-horizon missile attacks are but merely a few of the expanded maritime warfare mission sets planned for the U.S. Navy’s new fleet of DDG 51 Flight III destroyers, a new class of warship intended to propel the service’s ability to wage massive war on the open seas.

The technological backbone of these new advanced ships, which is now integrated on the first Flight III destroyer, the USS Jack Lucas, is a new family of AN/SPY-6 high-power, highly-sensitive, long-range radar systems that bring exponential improvements when it comes to threat tracking, identification and counterattack.

The AN/SPY-6 radar, previously called Air and Missile Defense Radar, is engineered to simultaneously locate and discriminate multiple tracks, and bring exponentially more tracking and detection. Built with a technical ability to detect incoming threat objects twice as far away and half the size of most existing radar, Raytheon’s SPY-6 enables ships to detect approaching enemy drones, helicopters and low-flying aircraft as well as incoming ballistic missiles … on a single integrated system.

In a tactical scenario, for instance, an enemy might seek to overwhelm ship defenses by coordinating multiple attacks simultaneously from drones, anti-ship cruise missiles, fighter jets, and even surface ships. The new SPY-6 radar can give commanders a vastly increased ability to discern and counter multiple threats at one time, because the sensitive, multi-band radar will enable them to make faster and more informed decisions. Ship defenders will operate with much shorter and more efficient sensor-to-shooter time and can therefore optimize counterattack strategies.

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