Lockheed Martin successfully operated its full-scale prototype long-range air surveillance radar during a recent capability demonstration to the U.S. Air Force.
The Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar will serve as the principal Air Force long-range, ground-based sensor for detecting, identifying, and reporting aerial targets. This next-generation system will replace the Air Force’s AN/TPS-75 air search radar.
During the event, the 3DELRR full-scale prototype showed its maturity, flexibility, scalability, and the benefits of its open technology design. More than 70 U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and Office of Secretary of Defense personnel attended the demonstration either locally or via webcast. The radar detected required targets of opportunity launched from the Syracuse airport and surrounding areas. The company hired additional test aircraft for the event, putting the prototype through more advanced†performance detection and tracking scenarios expected of long-range radars.
Originally unveiled in December 2010, Lockheed Martin’s 3DELRR solution met all the requirements for this demonstration two and half years earlier, and used this opportunity to highlight the radar’s evolving design to the customer. The radar’s design addresses 100 percent of 3DELRR requirements, including critical extended air surveillance reach for early warning from aerial threats.
“We began working a 3DELRR solution more than 10 years ago and are the only prime contractor that has been involved with each phase of the program up to this point,” said Mark Mekker, director of ground-based air surveillance programs at Lockheed Martin. “Since day one, we†have partnered with our customer to provide the most affordable 3DELRR solution that addresses their mission – because we understand their mission. We are implementing a cost-effective, long-term solution that addresses the challenges they face today and those they will face tomorrow, as well as being able to consolidate the missions of several other long-range radars currently in service.”
The Air Force is expected to release its request for proposals for the next phase of the program in the August or September 2013 timeframe. With that competition, the customer will select one contractor for the engineering and manufacturing development phase, which will be awarded in 2014.
In June 2009, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $25 million contract from the Air Force to begin developing a prototype for the 3DELRR radar. The team successfully completed a capabilities demonstration in January and December 2010. In August 2012, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for the 15-month pre-engineering manufacturing development (pre-EMD) phase of the contract.