For Radar Detecting Threats Sooner is Better

3DELRR-460x310 Lockheed Martin’s functioning full-scale system prototype of the 3DELRR system addressed 100 percent of the Air Force’s requirements, including extended air surveillance reach for early warning from threats, such as aircraft and ballistic missiles.

Since the British developed the first air defense radar in the late 1930s, militaries around the world have continuously pushed for the technology to keep detecting potential targets earlier and farther away. 

And the U.S. Air Force is now looking to Lockheed Martin to develop a new long-range radar that will provide advance warning of emerging threats at extended ranges.

The Air Force recently awarded Lockheed Martin a nearly $36 million contract for the next phase of its Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long Range Radar (3DELRR) program – its principal ground-based sensor for detecting, identifying, tracking and reporting aerial targets.

“We need to give battlefield commanders the most response time possible to detect and prosecute emerging threats.  Only advanced technology long-range radar like 3DELRR can do that,” said Mark Mekker, director of ground-based surveillance radar for Lockheed Martin.  “Our 3DELRR technology is mature, focused on not just performing now, but evolving and extending system life as required. We can offer that radar to the U.S. Air Force today.”

As the replacement for the current AN/TPS-75 air surveillance radar in service since 1980s, 3DELRR can detect new, emerging air defense threats and manage challenging battlefield air control scenarios out to extended ranges.

With 178 of its long-range radars in use around the world today, Lockheed Martin is using that experience and expertise, along with significant investments, to reduce risk and cost for the 3DELRR program. 

Under the Pre-Engineering and Manufacturing Development (Pre-EMD) Period of the Technology Development Phase contract, the Air Force will review industry trade studies to help set final radar requirements, conduct preliminary design reviews and demonstrate radar system-level technology maturity.  At the end of this 15-month phase, the Air Force is expected to award an EMD and low-rate production contract.

In 2010, Lockheed Martin unveiled a functioning full-scale system prototype as proof of the radar's maturity to complete the second and final demonstration required under a 2009, $25 million, 20-month technology development contract. The radar’s design addressed 100 percent of 3DELRR requirements, including critical extended air surveillance reach for early warning from threats, such as aircraft and ballistic missiles.

Posted on September 20, 2012