Upgrading Radars Up North
Lockheed to modernize long-range early warning, air traffic surveillance radars for U.S. Air Force
With the Cold War raging in the early 1980s, the United States replaced the 30-year-old Distant Early Warning System – or DEW Line – that stretched from Alaska to Greenland with Lockheed Martin’s AN/FPS-117 long-range surveillance radars.
While the Cold War is over, the need for early warning and air traffic surveillance over North America’s airspace remains and once again the U.S. is turning to Lockheed Martin to upgrade the Air Force’s Atmospheric Early Warning System.
The U.S. Air Force recently awarded Lockheed Martin $46.8 million in contract options to modernize 29 long-range radars – 15 in Alaska, 11 in Canada, and one each in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Utah.
Under initial options of the Essential Parts Replacement Program (EPRP) contract, Lockheed Martin will complete engineering planning and begin to upgrade the AN/FPS-117 long-range surveillance radars.
Expected follow-on contract options will replace and update all the radars’ signal and data processors to current commercial technology standards, cost-effectively extending their operational lives through 2025. The contract also includes replacement of the radar site’s secondary surveillance radar, used for air traffic control purposes.
“Our open architecture approach to L-Band radars provides commonality in supporting and sustaining a fleet of more than 175 long-range radars operational around the world,” said Frank Mekker, EPRP program manager for Lockheed Martin.
In recent years, Lockheed Martin has successfully completed similar radar modernizations at sites in the United Kingdom, Germany, Romania and Kuwait.
The NATO-certified AN/FPS-117 radar is the world’s most widely used three-dimensional, solid-state radar. Today, FPS-117 and TPS-77, a transportable version of the 117, radar systems operate in 25 countries. Capable of functioning completely unmanned, many have performed for years in remote, inhospitable areas and in a wide range of environments.
Posted November 16, 2011