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AN/SPS-49 Very Long-Range Air Surveillance Radar


There are currently nine configurations of the AN/SPS-49(V).

Variant Description Ship Class
AN/SPS-49(V)1 Developed in the early 1970s. Included sidelobe cancellation and digital MTI, with Coherent Sidelobe Canceller (CSLC) that electronically cancels jamming. Video outputs provided to PPI displays. CV, CVN, CG, DDG 993, LHD1, DD997, LSD41
AN/SPS-49(V)2 Without CSLC FFG 7
AN/SPS-49(V)3 (V)1 system modified to interface with a Radar Video Processor (RVP) CGN 9
AN-SPS-49(V)4 (V)2 system modified to interface with RVP FFG 7
AN/SPS-49(V)5 (V)1 system modified to provide an automatic target detection (ATD) capability and improved ECCM features. Developed in the early 1980s. Added automatic detection and Doppler processing. Digital outputs provided to an associated tracker. New Threat Upgrade (NTU)
AN/SPS-49(V)6 (V)3 system with double shielded cables and a modified cooling system CG 47
AN/SPS-49(V)7 (V)5 system with a (V)6 cooling system AEGIS Platforms
AN/SPS-49(V)8 (V)5 system enhanced to include the AEGIS Tracker modification kit AEGIS Platforms
AN/SPS-49A(V)1 Developed in the mid 1990s. Added radial speed determination on each target, each scan. Improved clutter rejection

The Navy operates the AN/SPS-49(V) as a shipborne radar on board approximately 115 ships and shore installations. Operation in the 902-928 MHz band is critical because it offers unique propagation characteristics that permit detection of small, fast moving targets over water, referred to as sea skimmers. A sea skimming missile or aircraft poses a particular problem, since at normal target tracking frequencies in smooth sea conditions there is a tendency for the radar return to be reflected back off the sea surface, causing confusion to the radar resulting in gross errors in assessment of speed and range. This problem has been largely overcome by using frequencies in the 902-928 MHz band. The Navy maintains that continued access to the 902-928 MHz band is essential to meet national defense requirements.

Relocating the AN/SPS-49(V) radar to another band may not be possible. Moving it to a lower frequency range could severely degrade the accuracy of the radar and compromise its mission. Moving it to a higher frequency range could significantly degrade the radar's capability to detect very small targets. Based on this unique frequency requirement, reallocation of the entire 902-928 MHz band is not considered a feasible option. Reallocation of a portion of the band for non-Federal use would reduce available spectrum resources to conduct Naval exercises in coastal areas. The resulting increase in radar-to-radar interference would limit the size of combined task force formations to as few as two or three ships, a situation incompatible with Navy mission requirements. Redesign, procurement and installation of a replacement radar to operate in a different band would cost on the order of $1.66 billion.

In 1994 the NTIA stated "The DoD considers that continued access to the full 902-928 MHz band on a primary basis is essential to meet national defense requirements. Based on this stated requirement, reallocation to exclusive non-Federal use is not considered feasible."

The AN/SPS-49(V) radar is, or will be, installed in most medium to large naval ships.

Ship classes with AN/SPS-49 include 70 U.S. Navy, Australian, Spanish, and Taiwanese Frigates (FFG-7); 12 Canadian Patrol Frigates (CPF Program); 10 ANZAC Patrol Frigates; 3 Korean KDX; 27 AEGIS Cruisers CG-47 Class; 26 TARTAR and Terrier Class Cruisers; 15 Destroyers; 19 Aircraft Carriers; 4 Battleships now decommissioned; 16 Amphibious ships LSD-41 and LHD, and 6 Battle Spares/training units.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 12:56:24 ZULU