There was a question looming in the air during this year’s Association of the US Army 2019 (AUSA 2019) annual conference: which company would win the coveted contract to replace the Patriot air and missile defence radar? Just hours after the show ended, Raytheon announced that it had beat two competitors and received a USD384 million Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) prototyping contract.
Under the 16 October deal, the company will build six ‘360-degree capable’ LTAMDS prototypes for the service to test with the goal of reaching initial operational capability in fiscal year 2022 (FY 2022). The army will then reopen the competition during low-rate initial production (LRIP) and award the winner with a contract to build 16 LTAMADS radar systems, according to Bob Kelley, Raytheon’s director of domestic integrated air and missile defence programmes for business development and strategy.
“The real challenge here is to get after those kinds of threats and still be the size form factor to be able to be strategically deployable on a C-17 aircraft. That is the challenge,” Kelley told reporters.
Namely, the new radar needs to be able to defeat today’s threats such as cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, tactical ballistic missiles, and fifth-generation fighters, and “day after tomorrow threats” including additional countermeasures and weapons such as hypersonic glide vehicles.
Raytheon’s winning LTAMDS proposal is an active electronically scanned array radar with 360° coverage that is powered by gallium nitride and includes digital receiver/exciter technology and digital beam forming software. The radar is designed to support the Guidance Enhanced Missile - Tactical Ballistic Missile and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement and will have the ability to interoperate with future army weapons, according to Kelley.
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