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USN goes virtual to test AN/SPY-6

28th June 2021 - 14:54 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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AN/SPY-6 array. (Photo: Raytheon)

Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division puts AESA radar through its paces.

The future Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jack H Lucas is being fitted with an AN/SPY-6 radar system, the US Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) announced on 25 June.

Early integration testing of this advanced radar leveraged a series of successful test events conducted by NSWCDD in 2020 in a virtualised environment.

The virtualised tests were about 95% cheaper than using land-based test equipment, NSWCDD noted. Its engineers say that similar IT concepts could be applied to computer systems across the USN with reductions in SWaP, cost and cooling.

‘What we’ve done is take what would reside on a physical computer, and we created virtual machines that allow us to further subdivide the available processing power for maximum effect,’ said NSWCDD virtualisation chief engineer Dennis Larsen.

He added: ‘We’re not modifying the computer programs themselves, we’re using their existing environment and installing them into the virtual environment.’

The AN/SPY-6 is a central feature of the Flight III Arleigh Burke class, providing a simultaneous anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defence capability.

AN/SPY-6 is designed by Raytheon as a scalable radar to equip a range of vessel sizes from corvettes up to frigates and cruisers. The USN regards it (and related variants) as the next-generation radar system not only for the Arleigh Burke class but also for vessels such as Constellation-class frigates, Gerald R Ford-class aircraft carriers and San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks.

Shephard Defence Insight describes USN plans to declare IOC for AN/SPY-6 in 2023.

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