First-of-Class

The U.S. Navy converted USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) to a U.S. naval warship, commissioning the Expeditionary Sea Base, USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3) during a ceremony at Khalifa bin Salman Port in Al Hidd, Bahrain, August 17.

The Military Sealift Command expeditionary mobile base USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) departs Naval Station Norfolk to begin its first operational deployment. Puller is deploying to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. Navy and allied military efforts in the region (U.S. Navy photo by Bill Mesta/Released)
The Military Sealift Command expeditionary mobile base USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) departs Naval Station Norfolk to begin its first operational deployment. Puller is deploying to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. Navy and allied military efforts in the region (U.S. Navy photo by Bill Mesta/Released)

Puller is the first U.S. ship to be commissioned outside the United States. With its commissioning, the U.S. Navy adds yet another warship towards its goal of having a larger, more capable force. The ship’s reclassification provides U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and U.S. 5th Fleet greater flexibility to better meet regional challenges.

Vice Admiral Donegan, commander of Naval Forces Central Command said, «The Puller isn’t just another ship, but a revolutionary concept; a ship that provides us a key platform that will provide continuity to a variety of operations», he continued saying, «Named after the most decorated Marine in American history, the USS Lewis B. Puller will provide greater operational flexibility to 5th Fleet, forward-deployed as the first ship built specifically for the purpose of serving as an expeditionary sea base. As such, it will augment our amphibious forces, not replace them, mine countermeasure forces and provide an expeditionary sea base for maritime security operations throughout the region».

The need for new solutions to new problems in the 5th Fleet area of operations continues to grow and Donegan recognized the challenge.

«As the security environment becomes faster paced, more complex and increasingly competitive, with the ever-growing and evolving challenge of asymmetric threats from state and non-state actors alike, the Navy has a growing need to station more diverse and capable warships around the globe. Commissioning this expeditionary sea base, the USS Lewis B. Puller, will allow the Navy and Marine Corps team to meet the threats in the region head on», said Donegan.

Puller’s namesake, Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell «Chesty» Puller, was the most decorated Marine in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps. He is one of only two men, and the only Marine, to be awarded five Navy Crosses. He fought in Haiti and Nicaragua, as well as several key battles in World War II and the Korean War.

«For the most part, Puller spent much of his time in the Pacific», said Lieutenant General Dave Beydler, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command. «Why was he there? Because that is where the fight was … I would argue that if he lived in our era, he would have spent a majority of his time in this region, the CENTCOM area of responsibility. I’m glad to have Chesty Puller back where the fight is».

Captain Adan G. Cruz is the USS Puller’s first commanding officer. Per naval tradition, Cruz read his orders before addressing those in attendance.

«It is really an honor to be part of a team and part of a crew with great Sailors and great civilian mariners», said Cruz.

Puller’s crew of nearly 150 Sailors and civilian mariners work in concert with one another as did those on the ship’s predecessor, USS Ponce (AFSB-(I) 15) to extend U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s maritime reach in 5th Fleet by supporting a wide variety of missions including counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid, disaster relief and crisis response operations.

PC-21 first flight

In a recent ceremony that marked a significant milestone for the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System, Lockheed Martin celebrated the Chief of Air Force first flight of the in-service PC-21 aircraft.

Australia’s Chief of Air Force pilots a PC-21 aircraft taking his first PC-21 in-service flight in East Sale, Australia, to mark the significant milestone for the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System (Photo credit: Australia Department of Defence)
Australia’s Chief of Air Force pilots a PC-21 aircraft taking his first PC-21 in-service flight in East Sale, Australia, to mark the significant milestone for the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System (Photo credit: Australia Department of Defence)

The occasion was celebrated at a media event hosted by Australian Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne, in East Sale, Australia. Also in attendance was the Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, highlighting the significance of the program to the Australian Government.

Vince Di Pietro, chief executive for Lockheed Martin Australia attended the event along with AIR 5428 partners Pilatus Aircraft and Hawker Pacific.

«We are excited to celebrate this momentous occasion with the CAF and recognise this marks the beginning of training for Australia’s fifth-generation air capability», said Vince Di Pietro. «This milestone is a great achievement to all involved and we celebrate the Australian Defence Force’s first flight in service and acceptance of the first six of 49 PC-21 aircraft, as the mainstay trainer for Australia’s pilot training program for decades to come. Combining the PC-21 turboprop training aircraft with state-of-the-art training simulations and an electronic learning environment, Australia’s new Pilot Training System will prepare Australia’s next-generation pilots for mission success».

The AIR 5428 Pilot Training System is an integrated solution tailored for all future pilots of the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army.

«Lockheed Martin Australia leads the delivery of integrated solutions for all future pilots of the Australian Defence Force», said Amy Gowder, vice president of Training and Logistics Solutions for Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems business. «This milestone is an important achievement, and confirms the Lockheed Martin-led team is on track to deliver a world-class pilot training solution to the Australian Defence Force».

Under the AIR 5428 contract, Lockheed Martin is providing overall project management for the pilot training system and delivering a family of integrated ground-based training technologies. Pilatus Aircraft is providing 49 PC-21 turboprop training aircraft and through-life engineering and airworthiness support, while Hawker Pacific is providing maintenance services and fleet support, and leveraging its established supply chain in Australia.

Signed in December 2015, the initial seven-year AIR 5428 Pilot Training System is valued at AU$1.2 billion, with performance-based options to extend the value and length of the contract for up to 25 years.

AFTRS-R terminals

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a contract to upgrade existing radio terminals aboard the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) fleet and replace them with Air Force Tactical Receive System-Ruggedized (AFTRS-R) terminals. AFTRS-R assures capability for the Joint STARS fleet and those interacting with the weapon system to receive intelligence reports, including threat warnings in hostile environments, ensuring undiminished battle management in support of warfighters in the air, on the ground and at sea.

Northrop Grumman to Integrate Air Force Tactical Receive System-Ruggedized on Joint STARS
Northrop Grumman to Integrate Air Force Tactical Receive System-Ruggedized on Joint STARS

AFTRS-R provides data feeds from airborne and overhead electronics intelligence collectors and allows Joint STARS to detect and track a host of mobile threats, including enemy air defense and theater ballistic missile assets. The AFTRS-R capability will modernize the Integrated Broadcast Service by replacing the current Commander’s Tactical Terminal/Hybrid-Receive Only (CTT/H-R) radio. The modification also addresses cryptographic modernization and diminishing manufacturing source (DMS) issues with the CTT/H-R radio.

«One of the benefits of our 32-year partnership with the United States Air Force on Joint STARS is that we have an in-depth understanding of the E-8C fleet and its mission in support of combatant commanders globally», said Bryan Lima, director, manned Command, Control & Intelligence plus Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR) programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. «The AFTRS-R modification is another demonstration of our joint commitment to fleet sustainment while providing uninterrupted mission support to the warfighter until the recapitalized fleet is fielded».

The AFTRS-R contract is a separate delivery order under the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity Joint STARS Systems Improvement Program (JSSIP) III contract awarded by the U.S. Air Force to Northrop Grumman in October 2013. Other modifications under JSSIP III to maintain 21st-century mission readiness include the Global Imagery Server, which allows for the display of worldwide imagery data on all Joint STARS operator work stations, and the Automatic Identification System that will provide Joint STARS with a permanent, integrated solution for maritime identification of participating vessels.

«Our mission is to ensure our combat commanders have the highest degree of situational awareness in the battlespace. Over the past 20 years, our government-industry team has successfully delivered on a variety of advanced, highly affordable capabilities to the fleet. The Global Imagery Server, Automatic Identification System and AFTRS-R are all great examples of how we will continue to ensure our troops remain well-ahead of the threats», said Colonel Raymond Wier, Program Manager, C2ISR, Battle Management, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, U.S. Air Force.

Joint STARS offers battlefield commanders real-time situational information, while simultaneously transmitting target locations to aircraft and ground strike forces. The fleet has been operating at surge levels since 2011 and has flown more than 130,000 combat hours since 9/11 supporting operations globally, including Operation Inherent Resolve over Iraq and Syria. Joint STARS is the only all-weather, long-range, real-time, wide area surveillance and battle management and command and control weapon system in the world.

Estonian exercise

US Army Soldiers of the 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division and the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard trained with NATO Allies during a combined aerial-ground exercise near Jagala, Estonia on August 10, 2017.

A US Army A-10 Thunderbolt II «Warthog» belonging to the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard, lands on a stretch of highway during an exercise near Jagala, Estonia on August 10, 2017. The exercise was a chance for the public to see NATO forces working together as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which is a NATO mission involving the US and Europe in a combined effort to strengthen bonds of friendship and to promote peace (Photo taken by Private first class Nicholas Vidro, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
A US Army A-10 Thunderbolt II «Warthog» belonging to the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard, lands on a stretch of highway during an exercise near Jagala, Estonia on August 10, 2017. The exercise was a chance for the public to see NATO forces working together as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which is a NATO mission involving the US and Europe in a combined effort to strengthen bonds of friendship and to promote peace (Photo taken by Private first class Nicholas Vidro, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

The exercise consisted of US CH-47 Chinooks, escorted by US UH-60L Black Hawks, dropping off infantrymen with the British Army’s 5th Battalion, The Rifles, 20th Armored Brigade on their mission to secure a civilian highway. They were able to practice these specific air maneuvers the day before during a separate exercise that seized an objective and acquired a high value target at Saase Training Area, Estonia.

The 3-10 CAB is currently in country as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a NATO mission involving the US and European Allies and partners in a combined effort to strengthen bonds of friendship and to deter aggression.

This event was an opportunity for US, British, and Estonian soldiers, as well as local law enforcement, to come together under a unified command to successfully land A-10 Thunderbolt II «Warthog» planes in a civilian area. British Army Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Ridland, commander of the Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group, explained the importance of combined events like this.

«This is all about air-land integration. This exercise comes a week after Vice President Mike Pence visited Estonia and spoke about how Enhanced Forward Presence is the embodiment of NATO in many respects. What we’ve got today is my soldiers working with American helicopters and planes demonstrating operations with our Allies», he said

This marks the third time the Maryland Air National Guard has been able to complete this event successfully, thanks to the teamwork between US, British, and Estonian forces on the ground. US Army Lieutenant Colonel Spencer Burkhalter, deputy chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation in Tallinn, Estonia, spoke on what needed to be done to make this mission viable.

«The planning took over six months to make this happen as successfully as in the past. On the Estonian side, there was a lot of ground work to cover. Their military police worked with local police to close this road. On the American side, the A-10 pilots planned the flight mission. In addition to those elements, the British component provided security for the airfield in an assault exercise conducted before landing», he said.

After the British infantrymen created a defensive perimeter around the area, the Warthogs began their descent, and after landing were assessed by a maintenance crew before taking off on the same strip. Ridland spoke on how this military display affects the public perception in Estonia.

«Here you have many people, families and the like, and for them this is an exciting thing to see. It’s also a reassurance to the public that NATO is here, their country is secure, and they don’t need to worry about anything», he said.

US Forces assist British ‘Rifles’ in Estonia

Korean peninsula

After eight months of intense training, members of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade successfully completed a Patriot missile defense system modernization effort that will provide continued protection from potential North Korean aggression.

Soldiers assigned to Battery D, 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment test and validate the recent upgrades to a Patriot launching station August 3 at Osan Air Base, South Korea. The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade just completed the largest Patriot modernization project ever conducted outside a U.S. depot facility (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Monik Phan)
Soldiers assigned to Battery D, 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment test and validate the recent upgrades to a Patriot launching station August 3 at Osan Air Base, South Korea. The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade just completed the largest Patriot modernization project ever conducted outside a U.S. depot facility (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Monik Phan)

«In coordination with contractors from Raytheon and the Lower Tier Project Office, the brigade carried out the largest Patriot modernization project ever conducted outside a continental depot facility», said Steven Knierim, Raytheon project manager.

«The purpose of the battalion netted exercise was two-fold. First, it was to validate the systems to ensure everything worked and met the industry standard for performance», said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tara Gibbs, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Patriot modernization project officer. «The second was to qualify the Soldiers and crews on the new equipment».

As part of the training, the batteries networked into the battalion data link architecture from geographically dispersed locations around the peninsula and conducted air battles. Each battery crew was required to complete a series of competency tests to demonstrate proficiency.

«Prior to the exercise, we spent three weeks split between formal classroom training and hands-on learning», said 2nd Lieutenant Nathan Jackson, Company C, 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment fire control platoon leader. «The contractors taught us how to isolate faults in order to better diagnose problems in case the equipment goes down».

According to Jackson, one of the biggest benefits of the modernization overhaul was the replacement of many legacy systems and updating outdated technology. The combination of the two improved the tactical capabilities and reduced maintenance requirements for the missile defense system.

«For the Soldiers that work in the engagement control station, one of the smaller but more comfortable enhancements was the ergonomic improvements», said Jackson. «Touch screen maneuverable displays, along with improved adjustable seats, make long shifts more endurable».

Throughout the modernization process, the brigade carefully balanced the ‘Fight Tonight’ mission in the Korean theater of operation while rotating batteries through the improvised depot at Suwon Air Base.

The brigade is scheduled to modernize their platform of Avengers in the coming months as part of an ongoing plan of enhancing air defense capabilities on the Korean Peninsula.

Readiness and modernization remain fixtures among the Army’s top priorities, both of which are initiatives 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade is addressing as the brigade upgrades their Patriot fleet. Upon completion of the largest Patriot modernization project ever conducted outside a depot facility, the Dragon Brigade will operate with the most technological advanced equipment within the Air Defense Artillery community. Furthermore, the brigade will execute a comprehensive new equipment training cycle to maintain Fight Tonight readiness throughout the transition. This article is part of a three-part series that will follow the modernization and readiness effort as it materializes.

The first ATACMS

Lockheed Martin has delivered the first Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile to the U.S. Army from the company’s new production facility in Camden, Arkansas.

The Block IA Unitary delivers a monolithic high explosive warhead using GPS guidance and has a range of 186.4 miles/300 kilometers
The Block IA Unitary delivers a monolithic high explosive warhead using GPS guidance and has a range of 186.4 miles/300 kilometers

Lockheed Martin is under contract to deliver 124 new ATACMS missiles to the U.S. Army and an international customer. The ATACMS program is in full-rate production at Lockheed Martin’s Precision Fires Production Center of Excellence in Camden.

Concurrent with production efforts, Lockheed Martin is nearing completion of a development contract with the U.S. Army that further enhances existing ATACMS missiles. The modifications include upgrades to the missile electronics, and complete the qualification of a height-of-burst proximity sensor, which provides increased area effects on targets.

«ATACMS has demonstrated unparalleled system performance and reliability for our customers», said Scott Greene, vice president of Precision Fires at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «These latest ATACMS rounds will support Army readiness, and provide a critical new precision engagement capability to our international customers».

ATACMS is the U.S. Army’s only tactical long-range, deep precision-strike surface-to-surface weapon system. ATACMS missiles can be fired from the entire family of Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers, enabling battlefield commanders the capability to operate in contested environments.

Lockheed Martin has produced more than 3,800 ATACMS missiles, with more than 20 years of on-time deliveries. More than 600 ATACMS missiles have been fired in combat, and the system has demonstrated extremely high rates of accuracy and reliability while in theater. Each ATACMS missile is packaged in a Guided Missile Launch Assembly pod.

Augmented reality

The development of advanced learning technologies for training is underway. Linking augmented reality with live training will enable units to achieve the highest levels of warfighting readiness and give valuable training time back to commanders and Soldiers.

A Stryker Vehicle Commander in a local training area interacts in real time with the avatar of a Soldier participating remotely from a collective trainer (Photo Credit: U.S. Army illustration)
A Stryker Vehicle Commander in a local training area interacts in real time with the avatar of a Soldier participating remotely from a collective trainer (Photo Credit: U.S. Army illustration)

The U.S. Army must train to win in a complex world that demands adaptive leaders and organizations that thrive in ambiguity and chaos. To meet this need, the Army has developed Force 2025 and Beyond, a comprehensive strategy to change and deliver land-power capabilities as a strategic instrument of the future joint force. The successful implementation of this strategy requires a new training environment that is flexible, supports repetition, reduces overhead and is available at the point of need.

A joint effort between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and several entities – University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, Combined Arms Center-Training and Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation – are working to research, prototype and eventually deliver the Synthetic Training Environment, otherwise known as STE.

STE is a collective training environment that leverages the latest technology for optimized human performance within a multi-echelon, mixed-reality environment. It provides immersive and intuitive capabilities to keep pace with a changing operational environment and enables Army training on joint combined arms operations. The STE moves the Army away from facility-based training, and instead, allows the Army to train at the point of need – whether at home-station, combat training centers or at deployed locations.

«Due to the rapidly expanding industrial base in virtual and augmented reality and government advances in training technologies, the Army is moving out to seize an opportunity to augment readiness», said Colonel Harold Buhl, ARL Orlando and ICT program manager. «With STE, the intent is to leverage commercial advances with military specific technologies to provide commanders adaptive unit-specific training options to achieve readiness more rapidly and sustain readiness longer».

Buhl said the intent is to immerse Soldiers in the complex operational environment and stress them physically and mentally, in order to «make the scrimmage as hard as the game», as General Martin Dempsey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, once remarked.

This training environment delivers the next generation of synthetic collective trainers for armor, infantry, Stryker and combat aviation brigade combat teams. These trainers will result in lower overhead costs and will use advanced learning technologies with artificially intelligent entities to simultaneously train BCT-level and below. This multi-echelon collective training will be delivered to geographically distributed warfighters, at the point of need, for both current and future forces.

«As the Army evolves with manned and unmanned teams and other revolutionary battlefield capabilities, STE will be flexible enough to train, rehearse missions and experiment with new organization and doctrine», Buhl said.

Leveraging current mixed reality technologies, STE blends virtual, augmented and physical realities to provide commanders and leaders at all levels with multiple options to guide effective training across active and dynamic mission complexities. STE will provide intuitive applications and services that enable embedded training with mission command workstations and select platforms.

The Synthetic Training Environment will combine live training participants with computer generated forces and units training remotely via collective trainers, allowing commanders to train beyond the constrictions of local training areas (Photo Credit: U.S. Army illustration)
The Synthetic Training Environment will combine live training participants with computer generated forces and units training remotely via collective trainers, allowing commanders to train beyond the constrictions of local training areas (Photo Credit: U.S. Army illustration)

«This capability coupled with the immersive and semi-immersive technologies that bring all combat capabilities into the same synthetic environment, add to this quantum leap in training capability, the geo-specific terrain that STE will use in collaboration with Army Geospatial Center and you have the opportunity to execute highly accurate mission rehearsal of a mission and multiple branches and sequels», Buhl said.

STE adaptive technology supports rapid iterations and provides immediate feedback – allowing leaders to accurately assess and adjust training – all in real time. With a single open architecture that can provide land, air, sea, space and cyberspace synthetic environment with joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multi-national partners, Army multi-domain operations are inherent with STE.

An increasingly complex element of the land domain is the expansion of megacities. In the coming decades, an increasing majority of the world’s population is expected to reside in these dense urban areas. Technologies in development by ARL for STE will provide the realism of complexity and uncertainty in these dense and stochastic environments. STE is intended to evolve and enhance readiness in megacities by replicating the physical urban landscape, as well as the complex human dynamics of a large population.

«It enables our formations to train as they fight using their assigned mission command information systems, and all other BCT and echelons above BCT warfighting capabilities», Buhl said. «Operational informative systems and the training environment systems will share an identical common operating picture; enabling seamless mission-command across echelons».

Ryan McAlinden, director for Modeling, Simulation and Training at ICT, said his team has been working with ARL, the TRADOC capabilities manager, Combined Arms Center for Training and PEO STRI for the past year to help inform the requirements process for the STE.

«The team has been researching and prototyping techniques and technologies that show feasibility for the one world terrain part of the program», McAlinden said. «The hope is that these research activities can better inform the materiel development process when the STE is formally approved as a program of record».

By leveraging technology to provide the means to train in the complex operating environment of the future, integrating technologies to optimize team and individual performance, and providing tough realistic training that is synchronized with live capstone events and gives commanders options for accelerated and sustained readiness, STE is transforming Army training to achieve readiness and win in a complex world.

«As we develop, demonstrate and transition technologies across the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command that provide solutions to tough Army problems, we never lose sight of focus on Soldiers and commanders», Buhl said. «These men and women deserve the very best in technology and more importantly in our respect for their leadership, initiative and ingenuity in the use of that technology. STE has tremendous opportunity for the Army if we develop and deliver with that focus».

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, currently celebrating 25 years of excellence in Army science and technology, is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

Inmarsat 6’s Reflectors

Astro Aerospace, a Northrop Grumman Corporation business, completed a successful Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of the nine-meter L-band reflectors for two Airbus Inmarsat-6 series satellites.

Northrop Grumman’s Astro Aerospace Completes Preliminary Design Review for Inmarsat 6’s L-band Reflectors
Northrop Grumman’s Astro Aerospace Completes Preliminary Design Review for Inmarsat 6’s L-band Reflectors

The success of the PDR is a significant milestone for the Inmarsat-6 program. With the preliminary design of the L-band reflectors now set, Astro Aerospace will continue maturing the design in preparation for the Critical Design Review (CDR) later this year.

«We are proud to support Airbus Defence and Space and the Inmarsat program», said John A. Alvarez, general manager, Astro Aerospace. «Astro Aerospace’s unique AstroMesh technology is particularly well suited for Inmarsat-6’s L-band capacity, which is significantly greater than the capacity of previous satellites and capable of supporting a new generation of more advanced L-band services. AstroMesh deployable mesh reflectors are made of the lightest and stiffest materials available, making them well suited for such missions. I also want to thank the combined Astro-Airbus-Inmarsat team that worked tirelessly to ensure a successful PDR».

Astro Aerospace (www.northropgrumman.com/astro) is the leading pioneer of space deployable technology and structures that have enabled critical complex missions to Earth’s orbit, Mars and beyond. Astro Aerospace’s hardware is characterized by its light weight structural design and robust deployment kinematics. Since 1958, Astro Aerospace has successfully deployed technology on hundreds of space flights with a 100 percent success rate, a testament to Northrop Grumman’s commitment to reliability, quality and affordability.

Multiple-object
Tracking Radar

On August 8, BAE Systems introduced iMOTR, an innovative, mobile Multiple-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR), which uses Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solutions to provide military test and evaluation ranges a higher degree of accuracy in tracking Time, Space, and Position Information (TSPI) for objects in flight.

BAE Systems unveils Innovative Multiple-object Tracking Radar for test ranges
BAE Systems unveils Innovative Multiple-object Tracking Radar for test ranges

The solution was unveiled at the annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.

BAE Systems developed the iMOTR solution over the past two years using the company’s internal research and development funding. The project focuses on leveraging existing in-house radar designs matched with COTS components – including those improving gallium nitrate, radio frequency, and analog-to-digital technologies – to design a highly capable, yet affordable multiple-object tracking radar.

«The successful design of iMOTR leveraged industry advances in performance, availability, and affordability for both hardware and software», said Mark Keeler, acting president of BAE Systems’ Intelligence & Security sector. «It will deliver a multiple-object tracking radar solution best matched to meet the ever increasing demands of test and evaluation ranges worldwide».

The iMOTR features a C-band or X-band active electronically scanned array antenna and enhanced clutter suppression for improved accuracy assessments of object launch data, which provides more precise flight-path tracking for objects travelling close to the ground. Tracking information can be shared with other radars or data collection sensors in real-time. The radar is also equipped to provide higher precision TSPI data on a greater number of multiple objects in flight above today’s test range radars. These added capabilities will allow the test and evaluation community to test larger, more complex scenarios that are critical to developing the next generation of solutions to enhance national security.

«Our iMOTR solution is inexpensive compared to the legacy multiple-object tracking radar systems currently in use on test ranges», said Keeler. «Yet, it delivers the enhanced radar performance capabilities necessary to meet today’s test range requirements and will also reduce test range operation and sustainment costs».

The iMOTR is mounted on a commercial trailer optimized for enhanced mobility. It is also ruggedized and weather-proof to resist shock, dust, sand, humidity, and rain to improve performance and sustainability.

BAE Systems, a worldwide leader in test range solutions for more than 40 years, delivers a broad range of solutions and services including intelligence analysis, cyber operations, IT, systems development, systems integration, and operations and maintenance to enable militaries and governments to recognize, manage, and defeat threats. The company takes pride in supporting critical national security missions that protect the nation and those who serve.

Next Generation Sensor

Lockheed Martin will unveil its next generation air and missile defense radar demonstrator at the annual Space & Missile Defense Symposium this week in Huntsville, Alabama. The Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar for Engagement and Surveillance (ARES) is a representative full-scale prototype of the technology to support a modern, 360-degree capable sensor that the U.S. Army will use to address current and emerging air and ballistic missile threats.

Lockheed Martin’s radar technology demonstrator is being developed to serve as the next generation sensor specifically designed to operate within the U.S. Army Integrated Air & Missile Defense (IAMD) framework (Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin)
Lockheed Martin’s radar technology demonstrator is being developed to serve as the next generation sensor specifically designed to operate within the U.S. Army Integrated Air & Missile Defense (IAMD) framework (Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin)

This fractional array is representative of Lockheed Martin’s potential Lower Tier Air & Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) solution, built on a modular and scalable architecture to scale to the Army’s requirements, once finalized, to replace the aging Patriot MPQ-65 radar. The array on display in Huntsville will be used to mature technology and verify performance to ensure uniform 360-degree threat detection and system performance.

«Incremental upgrades to the existing Patriot radar no longer address current sustainment issues, current threat performance shortcomings, or provide growth for future and evolving threats», said Mark Mekker, director of next generation radar systems at Lockheed Martin. «Lockheed Martin is prepared to offer a next generation missile defense system that will leverage advances in radar technology to provide a modular, scalable architecture and reduce the total cost of ownership well over its 30-year lifecycle».

Lockheed Martin’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology incorporates Gallium Nitride (GaN) transmitter technology and advanced signal processing techniques including recently developed and proven 360-degree sensor/fire control algorithms based on advanced threat sets. These technologies and concepts have been fully integrated into both demonstration and production systems resulting in the industry’s first fielded ground based radars with GaN technology.

The AESA technology is also in use in the AN/TP/Q-53 radar system, which Lockheed Martin designed, developed and delivered to the Army on an urgent need timeline in under 36 months, and which continues to be scaled to address emerging threats.

«Our solution for the U.S. Army’s new air and missile defense sensor is not a new-start program. It’s a combination of technology maturation over several years and includes capability leveraged from our current development programs and battlefield-proven radars. We rely heavily on our modern radar systems such as the Q-53 and the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) to rapidly bring low-risk, proven technology to the warfighter», Mekker said. «We look forward to the opportunity to participate in this competition that will ultimately drive up performance and reduce costs for the U.S. Army».

As a proven world leader in systems integration and development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, Lockheed Martin delivers high-quality missile defense solutions that protect citizens, critical assets and deployed forces from current and future threats. The company’s experience spans radar and signal processing, missile design and production, hit-to-kill capabilities, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, precision pointing and tracking optics, as well as threat-representative targets for missile defense tests.

Missile Defense Radar Technology