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US Army selects Lockheed Martin for new Sentinel radar

The US Army has selected Lockheed Martin to build the next generation of AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel air-defence radar systems over incumbent Raytheon.

Under the terms of the deal, valued at USD281 million, Lockheed Martin will spearhead work on the A4 variant of the stand-alone 3D Sentinel radar system, building upon the capabilities aboard the Raytheon-built A3 system currently being fielded by US Army units.

The Sentinel A3 system is an X-Band, Gallium Nitride (GaN)-based system with a scan rate of 30 RPM and a maximum 360-degree detection range of 40 km. Employed with electronic countermeasures, the Sentinel can be deployed with an army ground unit on a towed platform, or operated autonomously from a forward location ahead of a unit’s position via wideband fibre-optic datalinks or Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS).

Army officials have initiated a small-scale procurement of the Sentinel A3 to support development of its Initial Manoeuvre Short-Range Air Defence (IM-SHORAD) platform. The first complete IM SHORAD Mission Equipment Package (MEP) was delivered by Leonardo DRS to General Dynamics Land Systems – the prime contractor on the Stryker programme – in August for installation. Programme officials plan to roll out a fully integrated Stryker with the IM-SHORAD MEP system at the Association of the US Army symposium in Washington, DC, in October.

The new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) A4 variant will expand the platform’s capabilities in the areas of “surveillance, detection, and classification capabilities against current and emerging aerial threats”, facing not only army ground units but also “high value static assets”, including military hard targets like command and control nodes and civilian soft targets such as “geo-political centres”, Lockheed Martin officials said in a 27 September statement.

The worldwide MPQ-64 Sentinel programme. (IHS Markit)

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