Northrop Grumman
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Navy Eyes L3 Technologies for SPEIR Program

April 28, 2022
Ship-mounted EO and IR passive sensors can help naval vessels detect and track distant threats whether on the ocean surface or in the air above the water.

The U.S. Navy awarded a $205 million contract to L3Harris Technologies Inc. in support of engineering, development, and low-rate initial production for the Shipboard Panoramic Electro-Optic/Infrared (SPEIR) program. Options and spares could bring the value of the contract to over $590 million. Work on the contract is expected to be completed by November 2025.

The SPEIR platform uses electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) sensors installed on naval vessels (see figure) to provide surveillance of distant threats. The system, which is being designed as an open architecture to enable integration with other shipboard electronic systems, should significantly improve the U.S. Surface Navy’s shipboard sensor capabilities.

The Navy plans to initially install SPEIR systems on Aegis vehicles such as the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers and the CG-47 Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruise ships.

The EO/IR passive imaging sensors, designed and developed by Northrop Grumman are similar to those providing 360-degree surveillance for battle aircraft such as the F-35 fighter jet. When integrated with shipboard combat systems, the sensors can autonomously detect, track, and identify air and surface threats, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and improve navigational safety and situational awareness, especially at night.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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