The US Department of Defense (DoD) has begun the initial effort towards finding a surveillance radar for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense (LTAMD) sensor capability.
A key objective of the LTAMDS acquisition programme is to upgrade or replace the current Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target (Patriot) radars fielded by the US Army.
The DoD Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) awarded Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Technovative Applications 15-month concept definition contracts on 13 October. Raytheon is the incumbent for the Patriot radar.
In July 2016 the US Army's Lower Tier Project Office (LTPO) issued a request for information (RFI) to find potential materiel solutions to upgrade or replace the Patriot radar. The goal was to find not only new radars that will improve discrimination and tracking of ballistic missiles, but radars that could also be upgraded with new technologies that could, for example, provide the ability to counter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“The LTAMD capability will increase sensor/radar performance to maximise the inherent PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhanced [MSE] Interceptor capabilities to engage threats,” the army said in its fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget documents.
Additionally, the DoD wanted to transition to gallium nitride (GaN)-based active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.
In August 2017 at the annual Space and Missile Defense symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, Lockheed Martin unveiled its AESA Radar for Engagement and Surveillance (ARES) system, which the company intends to propose as its prototype for LTAMDS. ARES is a modular open-architecture capability incorporating a software-defined radar system approach. The prototype will include mature GaN transmitter technology and advanced signal processing techniques including the company’s 360° rotational capability.
Northrop Grumman is likely to propose its Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) that it is currently providing to the US Marine Corps.
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