Lockheed Martin brought a brand new next-generation air-and-missile defense radar on the Space and Missile Defense Symposium now it hopes may help the U.S. Army finalize its requirements for a new 360-degree radar to the service’s future Integrated Air and Missile Defense system.
Earlier come july 1st the U.S. Army clarified it promises to hold a contest to exchange its Patriot Air and Missile Defense radar and told Defense News it intends to begin analysis of materiel solutions in fiscal year 2018.
The service has spent years grappling with when and how it’ll replace its current Raytheon-manufactured Patriot system first fielded in 1982. At some time, the U.S. Army planned to obtain Lockheed’s Medium Extended Air Defense System because the replacement, however it canceled its intends to find the system, opting instead to acquire key aspects of a fresh IAMD system separately.
Northrop Grumman is developing the IAMD’s Integrated Battle Command System, the command and control architecture for that system. The U.S. Army also intends to utilize Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles down the road system.
Key to the future strategy is to get a 360-degree threat detection capability, since the current one has blind spots.
The U.S. Army’s decision to support a contest for that radar after working earlier times year wanting to decide whether or not it would upgrade the current radar or replace it did actually have spurred Lockheed’s radar, unveiling just a few miles from which the service’s Lower-Tier Air and Missile Defense, or LTAMDS, project office is set up, which can be tasked to run your competition.
“If you look on the environment the warfighter is operating in today for these varieties of sensors, it requires performance in clutter, not merely land and sea clutter and air clutter, but also the electronic interference also,” Mark Mekker, Lockheed’s director of ground-based radars, said. “So every digital element provides capability along with the technology so that you can perform an enhanced mission against advanced threats in the future.”
Lockheed is leveraging a refreshing history of technology and manufacturing development work over roughly forty years to rapidly bring the brand new radar on the fight faster than the usual traditional program.
And considering that the U.S. Army has struggled for quite some time to replace the Patriot system and its critical elements, fielding something quickly is going to be critical.
In the spot of mobility, Lockheed is utilizing the same leveling system and motion control which is used for the U.S. Army’s AN/TPQ-53 counterfire radars currently in production.
The company is also using discrimination algorithms in the Long Range Discrimination Radar the corporation is building for ballistic missile threat detection in Alaska.
“If you decide to go back somewhat further, so you reach into our signal processing that we had, not only on our MEADS program, but on our current ground-based air surveillance radars, where we’ve ballistic missile detection algorithms, so we are already doing 360-degree rotation in those radar systems,” Mekker said. “We had the ability to bring that software and initiate achievable software being a baseline.”
But there are also some major differences within the radar in comparison to Lockheed’s previous efforts.
The biggest difference is both radars required for missile defense, a surveillance radar as well as a fire-control radar, are combined into one radar using dual-band technology, Mekker said.
And while gallium nitride, a semiconductor materials used to accomplish 360-degree capability and touted by Lockheed’s competitor Raytheon, is included in the radar, Mekker said, the technology which is bringing its radar on the next level of capability is the thing that it calls “Every Element Digital Beam Forming.”
A traditional radar has more centralized receivers and exciters where an antenna feeds straight into that, Mekker explained. “With technology and what we can mature during the last five-years is bringing that technology and functionality up in the antenna so behind every radiating element you might have your personal little mini-radar system that is configurable on the fly via software.”
This means the device might be rotating and also the operator could take half the array and resource it to complete one mission, like fire control, and the better half to conduct surveillance, or it could possibly transition to anti-electronic attack capability.
Mekker said Lockheed is looking forward to utilizing the U.S. Army on the next year on maturing its requirements to satisfy current and future threats.
Two others are viewed to own offerings to the LTAMDS competition: Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. There’s room within the U.S. Army’s budget to gauge three radar offerings.
Raytheon may be very vocal about its GaN Active Electronically Scanned Array sensor to the next-generation Patriot radar, that can give you a 360-degree capability.
The company said it couldn’t discuss the LTAMDS for competitive reasons but noted the radar they have built has logged over 1,000 hours of testing.
Northrop Grumman has become essentially the most quiet about any potential offering it could possibly put forward and has not been capable of discuss anything it could be taking care of in the symposium.