Long-range discrimination radar passes preliminary design review

MOORESTOWN, N.J. The Lockheed Martin-built Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) passed Preliminary Design Review (PDR), indicating that detailed design on the radar system can move forward. The radar system will support a layered ballistic missile defense strategy to protect the U.S. homeland from ballistic missile attacks.

Missile Defense Agency () officials selected in 2015 to develop, build, and test the LRDR. The contract is worth an estimated $784 million. The radar passed PDR by demonstrating both a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) 6, putting the team on a path to achieve TRL 7 later this year allowing the program transition to manufacturing. Lockheed Martin utilized a scaled LRDR system to demonstrate Critical Technology Elements (CTEs) in a relevant environment.

During the two-day PDR, MDA and Office of Secretary of Defense representatives toured Lockheed Martin's facility to see the LRDR Prototype System and the new Solid State Radar Integration Site, a self-funded test facility that will be utilized to demonstrate TRL 7 and provide risk reduction for development of LRDR and future solid state radar systems.

"Lockheed Martin is committed to supporting the nation's Integrated Air & Missile Defense and homeland defense missions and we are actively investing in research and technologies that will lead to advanced solutions," says Chandra Marshall, LRDR program director, Lockheed Martin. "The Solid State Radar Integration Site will be used to mature, integrate and test the LRDR design and building blocks before we deliver the radar to Alaska. Using this test site will result in significant cost savings and less risk overall."

The LRDR is a high-powered S-Band radar incorporating solid-state gallium nitride (GaN) components, but is additionally capable of discriminating threats at extreme distances using the inherent wideband capability of the hardware coupled with advanced software algorithms.

"We built an open non-proprietary architecture that allows incorporation of the algorithms from small businesses, labs and the government, to provide an advanced discrimination capability for homeland defense," explains Tony DeSimone, vice president, engineering and technology, Lockheed Martin Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors.

LRDR is a component of the MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and will provide acquisition, tracking, and discrimination data to enable separate defense systems to lock on and engage ballistic missile threats.

The company is on track on to deliver the radar to Clear, Alaska, officials say. Work on LRDR is primarily performed in New Jersey, Alaska, Alabama, Florida, and New York.

Read more on radars:
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GaN use in radar/EW applications gets hot

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