WASHINGTON — A move to develop a new family of sensors to replace aging air search radars on major US Navy ships has merged with the need for a lower-cost system on future aircraft carriers, officials revealed last week.
Shoved aside in the shuffle is an expensive, high-powered radar system that now will be installed on only one ship.
Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are each at work on a new enterprise air surveillance radar (EASR) intended to replace SPS-48 and SPS-49 rotating radars on future ships and ships now in the fleet, primarily aircraft carriers and big-deck amphibious assault ships.
Each of the companies is working under a $6 million study and demonstration contract from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The ONR studies, according to a Northrop press release, “will examine how an existing radar concept can be evolved to meet the EASR requirements.” Northrop’s contract was awarded in November 2013, while the Raytheon contract came last June.
Now, according to the Navy’s admiral in charge of carrier construction, the EASR will be installed on the second ship of the Gerald R. Ford class, the John F. Kennedy, under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding. The EASR would replace the dual-band radar (DBR), a powerful system once intended to be installed on all Ford-class carriers and Zumwalt-class destroyers, but now reduced to just the Ford.