Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric is on the verge of finalizing a significant deal with US defense manufacturer RTX. The deal revolves around the supply of power supply equipment for the cutting-edge SPY-6 air and missile defense radar, currently in development for the United States Navy. This unprecedented agreement, estimated to be worth several hundred million dollars, marks a rare instance where a Japanese defense company is chosen as a primary supplier for a major US defense project. Notably, Mitsubishi Electric’s provision of equipment to the US armed forces precedes supplying its own defense forces, highlighting the magnitude of this collaboration.
The interest in SPY-6 radars from Japanese authorities was evident at last year’s Farnborough International Air Show, and now, the partnership is reaching its final stages. The deal underscores Japan’s growing role in the global defense industry and its commitment to expanding overseas. This news comes on the heels of Japan’s strategic move in June, where the government passed a bill providing new funding for domestic companies to adapt their equipment for export. The Japanese defense industry has been actively encouraged to pursue international partnerships, as demonstrated by Mitsubishi Electric’s recent agreement with the Australian Defence Department for joint equipment development in October.
The AN/SPY-6, an active electronically scanned array 3D radar, is a critical component for the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, providing integrated air and missile defense. With demonstrated capabilities against ballistic and cruise missiles, the SPY-6 is a game-changer in naval defense. Noteworthy features of the SPY-6 include its potential for electronic attacks using its AESA antenna. This capability aligns with the evolving landscape of electronic warfare, with the radar’s precise beam steering enabling the targeting of air and surface threats with directed high-powered radio waves.
The SPY-6’s distributed sensing software allows for a network of bistatic radars, enhancing its capabilities by deploying forward-deployed sensors in receive mode while illuminating targets with separate transmitters at the back. With sensitivity 30 times greater than its predecessor, the AN/SPY-6 can simultaneously handle over 30 times more targets, making it a formidable defense against large and complex saturation attacks. As the deal between Mitsubishi Electric and RTX nears its completion, it not only signifies a landmark collaboration but also reinforces the global significance of Japanese defense technology on the world stage.