The future F-110 frigates represent a huge leap for the Spanish Navy. And one of the most outstanding characteristics of these ships that Navantia will build is the use of the new SPY-7the world’s most advanced solid-state radar, manufactured by Lockheed Martinthe giant of the American military industry.
At the beginning of 2023, tests were carried out together with Indra to incorporate these radars into the Aegis platform, the naval weapons system for tracking and guiding missiles. At the moment, only four countries in the world have contracted the services of Lockheed Martin to incorporate SPY-7 radars into their Aegis system: United States, Canada, Japan and Spain.
Compared to the SPY-1, these new radars offer far superior performance in protecting against ballistic missiles, including several at the same time. A radar that is expected to be included in the five new Spanish F-110 frigates starting in 2026. It will be Japan that will debut these radars in 2025in its terrestrial variant.
As described Lockheed Martin, the SPY-7 radar is the most versatile and advanced radar in the world. It is interoperable not only with Aegis, but with the world’s leading defense systems.
“Its construction material is gallium nitride (GaN), which allows for better cooling of the radar and, as a consequence, better and sustained performance. Instead of an array that scans an area, the radar is made up of thousands of mini-scanners, which enable solid-state coverage of the surveillance area. This structure based on ‘subarrays’ makes the radar easily upgradeable as threats evolve,” they describe from the military industry giant.
The SPY-7 radar is versatile because it works on land, sea and air 24 hours a day throughout the year. Additionally, can be repaired and updated while operationalso it does not require periods where the radar is turned off.
The Álvaro de Bazán class frigates of the Spanish Navy use AN/SPY-1 radars, having an effective range of about 185 kilometers. Lockheed Martin does not specify the official scope, although it describes it as up to 3.3 times greater range than these. What we would be facing Detection range approximately 610 kilometers.
The technical improvement does not imply that the cost is higher. In fact, the company explains that its cost is up to 10% cheaper compared to the LRDR program (‘Long Range Discrimination Radar’).
The Spanish Navy, together with Navantia, is preparing to have the five F-110 frigates ready. Five missile frigates that will have multiple technological advances. Among them are these SPY-7 radars that few countries can boast of having.