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HENSOLDT Inc. Vienna, a HENSOLDT subsidiary in the U.S. state of Virginia, has successfully installed the first two of its TRS-4D radars aboard the U.S. Navy’s FREEDOM Class LCS (Littoral Combat Ship). After passing successfully acceptance trials, LCS 17 USS INDIANAPOLIS was handed over to the U.S. Navy by Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine in July. She will be the ninth ship of the FREEDOM variant of the LCS and is scheduled to be put into service on October 26. The second radar has been installed aboard LCS 19 USS ST. LOUIS and is currently preparing for acceptance trials.

For the LCS ships, the TRS-4D (under the U.S. Navy designation “AN/SPS-80”) is a rotating version of the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna with electronic beam steering, while the radar in the German F125 frigates is currently being equipped with a fixed antenna. The TRS-4D is the first rotating AESA radar on board a U.S. Navy ship. Eight TRS-4D systems are currently under contract for the FREEDOM Class LCS vessels. Six of them have already passed factory acceptance. The new radar offers a combination of mechanical and electronic azimuth scanning to achieve fast generation of target tracks.

The LCS class, which has been specially designed and optimized for operating in highly trafficked near-shore regions while being tailored to the mission, consists of two variants, the FREEDOM and the INDEPENDENCE. Austal USA, Mobile, Alabama, in cooperation with General Dynamics, is responsible for the trimarans of the INDEPENDENCE (127 meters long, 30 meters wide, 3,100 tonnes displacement, up to 45 knots fast), of which 19 units have been ordered so far (delivery horizon 2025). The FREEDOM variant, 16 of which have been provisionally ordered, will be built by Lockheed Martin, Marinette, Wisconsin, together with Fincantieri subsidiary FMG. The 115 meters long, 17.5 meters wide monohull vessels of this variant will be able to reach up to 47 knots at a displacement of 3,500 tonnes.

Due to an innovative modular design, they can be configured for combatting surface sea targets, for anti-submarine warfare and for mine countermeasures operations. They can be adapted to changing threats and scenarios over their lifetime. HENSOLDT has integrated itself into this concept to the extent that programmable changes can be made to the radar software by the customer, here the U.S. Navy. This makes it possible to adjust the radar to the changing threats during the ship’s service life. Thus, the modularity of the LCS and its adaptability to operational scenarios is also supported by the radar design.

Hans Uwe Mergener