The Navy decided this week to use S-Band rather than L-Band technology for the volume search radar that will be on the next-generation destroyer, DD(X). This higher frequency radar will improve the ability of the destroyer to track aircraft and missiles and to counterattack shore-based gun or missile batteries that attempt to strike the ship.
"The shift to S-Band technology is a very carefully considered, logical decision which seeks to ensure every investment dollar is leveraged to achieve near term and long term goals," according to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Research Development and Acquisition John Young. "The decision effectively creates a radar roadmap for the Navy which draws on extensive, successful experience with S-Band on Aegis, provides enhanced capability for DD(X) as well as a future growth path, and supports the advancement of radar technology necessary for the CG(X) cruiser. Our industry partners,
Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon have been exceptional in working
cooperatively to allow this decision to be made, demonstrating their understanding of the benefits to the fleet and the priority they place on supporting the Navy and Marine Corps."
DD(X) will be designed to perform in multiple warfare areas, and its original missions are unchanged. First and foremost, DD(X) will support joint and allied troops ashore by performing precision strike and fire support. The ship will also be able to fight submarines and other ships and will defend against airborne threats.
DD(X) is not envisioned to perform ballistic missile defense. Its S-Band
radar will not have the power output required to fulfill that mission. However, the radar does have the potential to be scaled up in size for possible use on the next-generation cruiser, CG(X), which will have significant ballistic missile defense capability.
The shift to S-Band technology is not expected to impact the major milestones for the next-generation destroyer program. The Navy still expects to award the lead-ship construction contract
in fiscal 2005 to support delivery of that ship in fiscal 2011.
The change to S-Band will be effected through a contract modification to the existing DD(X) contract with Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are sub-contractors under the contract.