Quantum Leap in Naval EO/IR Capabilities

Photo illus. by Wikimedia U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Harbour (RELEASED)US Navy

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The US Navy is boosting its fleet protection by adding advanced electro-optic/infrared capabilities to its carriers, destroyers, frigates, amphibious and landing helicopter assault ships.

A scalable 360-degree EO/IR passive automatic detection and tracking solution will enhance combat systems and navigation capabilities, providing safe navigation and force protection by enabling operations in an emissions-controlled environment.

A team led by L3Harris Technologies was selected as a prime contractor to deliver the Shipboard Panoramic Electro-Optic/Infrared (SPEIR) passive surveillance system.

“The SPEIR program represents a generational leap forward in the use of 360-degree EO/IR imagery and situational awareness, elevating EO/IR sensors – the eyes of the fleet – from a dedicated weapons support sensor to a full passive mission solution capability,” according to the company.

L3Harris will serve as a system integrator to provide several mission area capabilities, including counter-uncrewed aerial systems, anti-terrorism/force protection, anti-ship cruise missile defense, mobility, operational tasking visual information and counter-fast attack craft/fast in-shore attack craft.

Other members of the L3Harris-led team are BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin.

Together, the team will provide an L3Harris solution called SPATIAL, which delivers a scalable 360-degree EO/IR passive automatic detection and tracking solution to improve the US Navy’s combat systems and navigation capabilities.

BAE Systems employs image processing development from combined EO/IR surveillance and response system (CESARS) that provides a fully automated image processing detection capability that reduces operator workload.

On the other hand, Lockheed Martin will bring combat system interface knowledge to ease integration into existing ship systems.

The initial $205 million contract has a potential value of $593 million if all options are exercised through March 2031, according to the L3Harris announcement.