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AN/SPS-74 radar 


AN/SPS-74 anti-submarine warfare radar

(United States)

Notes: This new all-digital shipboard surface-search radar is intended to detect difficult targets, namely those hidden deeply by sea clutter and with very low or very high relative rates of motion - submarine periscopes and terrorist suicide boats. It is the end result of the 1996 ARPDD radar study. The manufacturer is 3-Phoenix Incorporated, with some components contracted out to Northrop Grumman. This system was made a higher-priority project after a 2006 incident where a Chinese submarine penetrated the ASW screen of USS Kitty Hawk’s CVBG undetected until the sub surfaced.

During 2008, a prototype technology demonstrator was built ashore at a USN-leased facility on Andros Island in the Bahamas, this site was chosen as it is in a relatively "quiet" electronic area and is adjacent to deep waters immediately offshore enabling it to be tested against submarine periscopes. The tests were successful and the radar was put into pre-production status.

AN/SPS-74 operates at a very high data update rate (five times per second), enabling it to quickly pick out small difficult contacts such as periscopes. The external antenna is stabilized. The below-decks components consist of two air-cooled processor cabinets and the display screen. The display is a full-colour computer screen in a windows-type format. Unlike an old PPI-style display, the ship’s position is overlaid on a real-time moving map of the surrounding area. The operator can adjust the display for less or more information via a pull-down menu; from just the contacts only to range rings, weather data, estimated courses, etc. The AN/SPS-74 radar directly interfaces with the AN/UYQ-100 anti-submarine warfare computer, and can also be linked to the ship’s EW suite. There are three modes, standby (the system is booted up but not radiating), unattended (an audible alarm sounds if a periscope is detected), and manned.

As of May 2012, there are five operational AN/SPS-74 sets in USN service: an ashore trainer at Dam Neck Naval Station, VA; and four shipboard installations (all aircraft carriers): USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), USS George Washington (CVN-73), USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). The installation aboard USS George Washington is considered the OPEVAL installation and pending a positive outcome of the OPEVAL period in 2013, AN/SPS-74 will be installed on all aircraft carriers and possibly some surface combatants.

Operating band:




Estimated 39NM max, 23NM vs submarine persiscope

Pulse characteristics:


Antenna rotation:




Entry created by: Jason W. Henson

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