New Lockheed Martin Radar Will Provide Dramatic Reduction in Support Costs
WASHINGTON, DC, 13-SEP-00 -- Lockheed Martin introduced at the Air Force Association's 2000 Aerospace Technology Exposition its newest air surveillance radar. Designated the TPS-117, the L-band, tactical transportable radar provides continuous high-quality 3-D coverage data on aircraft targets out to 250 nautical miles. Although it is a new radar model, the TPS-117 is based on one of the world's most successful radar designs. The system shares about 80 percent component commonality with its larger cousin, the U.S. Air Force's AN/FPS-117 air surveillance radar. Currently deployed in more than 100 locations worldwide, many FPS-117s have operated for years completely unmanned in remote areas. In these critical missions, the AN/FPS-117 delivers 99.7 percent operational availability - that's about one day off per year.
The tactical TPS-117 radar is designed to deliver the same continuous operational availability as the FPS-117, whether manned for frequent redeployment, or remotely controlled and operated. It truly is the ideal replacement for today's aging inventory of transportable air surveillance radar systems, said Vice President for Radar/Sensor Systems Richard Schubert.
TPS-117's solid-state transmitters and fault tolerant design significantly reduce power consumption while increasing reliability. Sophisticated performance monitoring and self-tuning eliminates daily maintenance and enables remote system diagnostics. In most cases, component failures can accumulate for up to three months and are repaired during quarterly scheduled preventive maintenance periods.
Solid state components provide a mean time between critical failures of more than 1,500 hours and a mean time to repair of 30 minutes. A single technician with basic skills can perform most maintenance and repairs.
Designed for transportability and frequent redeployment, the radar antenna stows into a compact International Standards Organization (ISO) package in just minutes. A six-person team can set up and begin operating the antenna from its transport configuration in just 30 minutes. The antenna and electronics shelter can be transported on two trucks, or two C-130 aircraft.
When the AN/FPS-117 radar was put in place by the U.S. Alaskan Air Command in 1987, manning for its 13 radar sites immediately dropped from 1,100 to 150 people, according to published reports. As of July 2000, AN/FPS-117 radars are operating at 30 North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) sites and Lockheed Martin estimates only 200 people are needed to maintain them. (The F in the Air Force radar's designation stands for fixed; the T in the new system denotes transportable).
The reliability of the AN/FPS-117 and the new TPS-117 plus the reduction in associated personnel provide unparalleled value to our customers, added Schubert. With the installation of the FPS-117's in Alaska, the Air Force saved $100 million in annual support costs. This was largely driven by the reduced requirement for support personnel. With the addition of the Canadian sites and modifications to make the radar completely unattended, we estimate NORAD is saving approximately $300 million every year.
The investment in the FPS-117 has been recovered many times over and the system continues to pay dividends. It's a great example of how the smart application of technology can reduce cost and ease the personnel crunch that the Air Force is experiencing.
A leader in the design, development and integration of radar systems, vessel traffic management, simulation and training systems, and other complex electronic systems, Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Radar Systems serves customers including all branches of the U.S. armed forces, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Transportation and State, and defense and transportation departments of countries on six continents. NE&SS-Radar Systems employs approximately 2,000 people at its Syracuse, N.Y., headquarters and is a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation.