AN/SPY-1 Radar is the key component of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The passive electronic scanning system is computer controlled, using four complementary antennas in order to provide full 360 degree coverage. It is a multi-function phased-array radar capable of search, automatic detection, transition to track, tracking of air and surface targets, and missile engagement support. The system is designed for blue water and littoral operations however AN/SPY-1 configuration must be modified to look above the terrain to avoid causing excessive false targets from land clutter. These configuration changes may increase ship susceptibility to low and fast targets.
Long-Range Surveillance and Tracking
Aegis Destroyers, on Ballistic Missile Defense patrol, detect and track Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and report track data to the missile defense system. This capability shares tracking data to cue other missile defense sensors and provides fire control data to Ground-based Mid-course Defense interceptors located at Fort Greeley, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. To date, twenty-one Aegis Cruisers and Destroyers have been upgraded with the Long-Range Surveillance and Tracking capability.
At-sea tracking events and flight tests have verified the capability to track Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and demonstrated the connectivity and reliability of long-haul transmission of track data (across nine time zones) necessary to support missile defense situational awareness, target acquisition, and engagements.
Aegis Cruisers and Long-Range Surveillance and Track Destroyers are being equipped with the capability to intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missile within 10 seconds from when the radar "sees" missile's movement.
Increased precision track data via radar signal processing upgrades, improving both Long-Range Surveillance and Tracking and engagement capabilities.