Lockheed Martin Uprgrades First of Six Tethered Aerostat Radar Sites and Receives Go-Ahead on Second Site
DEMING, NM, 09-OCT-00 -- The U.S. Air Force has brought online the first of six Tethered Aerostat Radar System sites scheduled for electronics equipment upgrade and aerostat replacement. Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Akron won this $13.5 million contract in 1999 to convert all 71-meter aerostat sites to the Lockheed Martin 420,000-cubic-foot aerostat/L-88 radar configuration. Site modernization includes replacement of the existing 71-m aerostat with a 420K envelope, new ground support equipment for aerostat in-haul and out-haul operations, a new tether, a new motor and generator set, replacement of the telemetry and transmitter antenna, and installation of a payload-loading fixture. All of these improvements will be duplicated at the other five TARS sites. This standardization of equipment will deliver cost savings, improve equipment maintenance, and simplify training of site crews, Ronald Browning, Lockheed Martin director of business development for surveillance systems in Akron, said. NE&SS-Akron will train ground crews, employees of Lockheed Martin Systems Support and Training Services, in the operation and maintenance of the new system.
The U.S. Air Force also has given Lockheed Martin the go-ahead to begin modernization activity of a second TARS site at Yuma, Ariz. All upgraded TARS sites will use the L-88 radar, built by Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Akron at its Melbourne, Fla., facility. The L-88 radar, when flying at 15,000 feet on a 420K Aerostat, detects airborne tracks at distances of 200 nautical miles. The 420K Aerostat, with its Class-IV shape, offers the most aerodynamic flight profile of any aerostat now in use. Such stable flight characteristics enhance radar performance.
This program is further acknowledgment of NE&SS-Akron as the world leader in lighter-than-air technologies and as the preferred supplier of these valuable, low-cost surveillance platforms, Browning said. Aerostats have proven in head-to-head studies to deliver more surveillance coverage, over longer periods, and at lower costs than any other type of platform. Aerostat surveillance electronics payloads can include infrared, electro-optical and other sensors to deliver the type of data needed at any given location, he continued. Within the Class IV family, NE&SS-Akron also builds a 56K Aerostat and an 8K Aerostat that give nations mobile surveillance units. The 8K can be lowered and packed into a 36-foot-long trailer within an 8-hour period for transporting to the next site.
Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems, Akron, Ohio, designs and develops lighter-than-air surveillance systems, simulation and training systems, undersea and antisubmarine weapons systems, high-speed parallel processing computers, digital image processing systems, guidance systems, and ship defense and electronic combat systems.