The US Navy has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman Corporation for AN/SPQ-9B shipboard radar systems to enhance the detection and tracking capabilities of naval ships.

Under the initial $26.2m contract, Northrop will supply four high-resolution X-band AN/SPQ-9B search radar sets, which are specifically designed to detect small fast-moving targets in the presence of clutter from ocean waves, rain and land returns, as well as chaff and jamming.

The radar sets integrated with the ships’ fire-control systems will significantly enhance their ability to defend against small high-speed threats including surface-skimming anti-ship missiles.

Northrop Grumman Maritime Systems business development and marketing director Jeffrey L Holloway said the AN/SPQ-9B radars would make an important contribution to the fleet’s ability to operate in littoral waters where land and sea clutter often limit the tracking and detection capabilities of search radars.

The contract has options to include a wide range of US aircraft carriers, cruisers and amphibious assault ships, as well as the US Coastguard national security cutter, which, if exercised, would make the cumulative value of the contract $281.5m.