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C4iSR: Air

USN begins AN/SPN-50 radar testing

06 November 2019
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The US Navy (USN) has begun land-based testing of its new AN/SPN-50(V)1 Shipboard Air Traffic Radar (SATR) at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Webster Outlying Field (NAWCAD WOLF) facility in St Inigoes, Maryland, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has disclosed.

The AN/SPN-50(V)1 Shipboard Air Traffic Radar under test at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Webster Outlying Field. (NAVAIR)The AN/SPN-50(V)1 Shipboard Air Traffic Radar under test at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Webster Outlying Field. (NAVAIR)

Managed by NAVAIR's Naval Air Traffic Management Systems Program Office (PMA-213), the AN/SPN-50 SATR programme is designed to meet requirements for a next-generation air traffic control (ATC) radar to sequence, separate, and vector aircraft into the final approach of USN nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and large-deck amphibious ships. The new radar is being procured to replace the legacy AN/SPN-43C S-band ATC radar.

Saab Defense and Security USA was in September 2016 awarded a USD38 million Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract by NAVAIR for the design, development, manufacture, integration, demonstration, and test of the AN/SPN-50(V)1 SATC radar system. The EMD phase of the programme includes the initial procurement of two engineering development model (EDM) radars and a single post-Critical Design Review production representative system.

A total of 25 follow-on production systems are intended to enter service from the early 2020s, with the two EDMs to be brought up to full production standard with mod kits. A production decision is expected in late 2020.

Saab USA's SATR solution is based on an evolved variant of the Sea Giraffe AMB radar (already in service on USN Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships under the designation AN/SPS-77(V)1), which swaps the travelling wave tube transmitter of earlier versions for a solid-state transmitter. According to the company, the AN/SPN-50(V) variant is adapted "to provide increased range as well as including the latest reliability improvements for the type". A weather mode has also been introduced (using a third-party processing module supplied by BCI Sensors).

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