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.