Long-Range Radar on Track

Air Force looks on as Lockheed Martin successfully demonstrates 3DELRR prototype


Air traffic controllers at Syracuse Hancock International Airport kept an extra set of eyes on the additional flights overhead recently as Lockheed Martin conducted a capability demonstration of its prototype long-range air surveillance and theater ballistic missile defense radar.

But Lockheed Martin representatives were just as interested in the eyes – and thoughts – of the more than 70 U.S. Air Force and other government personnel who looked on as the Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) full-scale prototype was put through its paces.

The next-generation 3DELRR system, which will serve as the principal Air Force long-range, ground-based radar for detecting, identifying and reporting aerial targets, displayed the maturity, flexibility, scalability and benefits of its open technology design. The new sensor will replace the current AN/TPS-75 air search radar.

Lockheed Martin’s 3DELRR solution met all the requirements for this demonstration in 2010 so the team used the occasion to highlight the radar’s evolving design. Lockheed Martin also conducted its own dedicated flights for the event near the Syracuse airport, demonstrating the radar’s ability to not only detect required targets of opportunity but additional types of aircraft, something that is expected of today’s long-range radars.

“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. “We have partnered with our customer to provide the most affordable 3DELRR solution that addresses their mission because we understand their mission. This cost-effective solution will address the challenges they face today and those they will face tomorrow, as well as 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 program’s next phase in August or September. The customer will then down-select to one contractor for the engineering and manufacturing development phase to be awarded in 2014.

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $25 million contract from the Air Force in 2009 to begin developing a prototype for 3DELRR. In 2012, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for the 15-month pre-engineering manufacturing development phase of the contract.

Posted on July 19, 2013