Navy radar replacement program gets green light

A major U.S. Navy ship radar modernization program can proceed now that a protest of a key contract award has ended.

Raytheon, which won a $386-million engineering and manufacturing development contract for the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) in October, announced Jan. 13 that the Navy has told it to resume work on the program because losing bidder Lockheed Martin has withdrawn its protest.

“The Raytheon team and plans are in place, ready to move forward on the program,” said Kevin Peppe, Raytheon’s vice president for seapower capability systems. “Our focus is now dedicated to delivering this critical AMDR capability to the Navy.”

The contract value could grow to $1.6-billion if the Navy exercises options to buy up to nine radars, according to Naval Sea Systems Command.

Raytheon beat out both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman for the contract, but its work was halted when Lockheed Martin asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in October to decide whether the Navy should redo the competition. Lockheed Martin challenged the AMDR contract award “because we believed the merits of our offering were not properly considered during the evaluation process,” company spokesman Keith Little said.

However, on Jan. 13, Lockheed Martin confirmed that it had withdrawn its protest.

“While we believe that we put forward an industry-leading solution, after receiving additional information we have determined it’s in the best interest of the Navy and Lockheed Martin to withdraw our protest,” said Little, who declined to say what “additional information” Lockheed Martin had received.

The new radar will replace the Lockheed Martin-made SPY-1 radar aboard the DDG-51 guided-missile destroyer. It is designed to improve detection and tracking of increasingly sophisticated, hostile ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles.

“We look forward to continuing our work with industry to bring this much-needed next-generation capability to the warfighter,” said Cdr. Thurraya Kent, a Navy spokeswoman.

The 14-foot-diameter AMDR is scheduled to be installed on Flight III-configuration DDG-51s that the Navy plans to start procuring in fiscal year 2016. The radar could eventually be placed on other classes of ships, too.

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Marc Selinger is a journalist based in the Washington, D.C., area. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @marcselinger.