Lockheed Martin Wins U.S. Air Force Aerostat Radar Contract Surveillance System
AKRON, OH, March 5th, 2002 -- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $79 million contract to provide L-88(V)3 radar systems to the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command's Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) along the southern border of the United States. The acquisition of the L-88(V)3 radar marks the next step in the Air Force's program to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the TARS network. The L-88 family of radars, integrated with the 420,000-cubic-foot aerostat also developed by Lockheed Martin, is the standard system configuration selected by the Air Force for all TARS sites.
"This next generation L-88(V)3 radar builds upon Lockheed Martin's highly successful L-88 system architecture by incorporating contemporary commercial technology to meet the customer's performance requirements while substantially reducing overall installed weight," said Ron Browning, Lockheed Martin director of business development for surveillance systems. "We have a great deal of confidence in our product and the service it provides."
With its overlapping radar coverage, TARS supports air sovereignty and counterdrug operations conducted by North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs Air and Marine Interdiction Coordination Center. TARS provides nearly continuous surveillance of the nation's southern coastal and inland border from Puerto Rico to California.
Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems (NE&SS)-Radar Systems, Akron, Ohio along with its radar engineering and production unit in Melbourne, Fla., serve as the system integrators for the TARS sites. The Lockheed Martin team will build, install, test, and support the L-88(V)3 radar system which includes the airborne payload, the telemetry system, and radar control / monitoring console. The first radar will be delivered in late 2003.
The 420K aerostat has a helium volume of 420,000 cubic feet and was designed specifically to carry the L-88 radar. The L-88 radar connects to the underside of the aerostat and is enclosed by a fabric windscreen. The 29-foot radar antenna rotates within the windscreen to provide 360-degree coverage at ranges to 200 nautical miles. The 420K aerostat has an aerodynamically shaped body that is 209 feet long and 69 feet in diameter at its widest point.
"The modernization of the TARS network appears to fit well with the renewed national focus on homeland security," Browning said. "The 420K/L-88(V)3 system, which provides a highly effective, low cost surveillance capability, is an obvious complement to other assets deployed along our coasts and borders. Additionally, these aerostat systems translate to global applications where they can be effective in creating an atmosphere of mutual trust between neighboring countries by providing virtually transparent borders," Browning said. "National governments recognize the cost efficiencies that lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicles have when compared to other types of surveillance tools. And, as technology moves to build a better defense against terrorism, LTA platforms will remain key surveillance components in the protection of coastal and geopolitical boundaries."
In a separate award in 1999, the Air Force contracted Lockheed Martin to modernize six TARS installations. Three sites, Deming, N.M., Yuma, Ariz., and Fort Huachuca, Ariz., have successfully transitioned to the standard 420K/L-88 configuration.
NE&SS-Radar Systems in Akron is the center of excellence for designing and developing lighter-than-air surveillance systems, simulation and training systems, undersea and antisubmarine weapons systems, digital image processing systems, guidance systems and ship defense and electronic combat systems.
NE&SS-Radar Systems is one of five major lines of business comprising the Lockheed Martin NE&SS business segment. NE&SS provides surface ship and submarine weapon systems, antisubmarine warfare and ocean surveillance systems, missile launching systems, radar and sensor systems, ship systems integration services and other advanced systems and services to customers worldwide. NE&SS is a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems products and services.