Ballistic missiles will soon be easier to detect and defeat. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has awarded Raytheon Company a $10 million contract modification to continue the development of hardware and software that will add Gallium Nitride, or GaN semiconductor technology to the AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar.
GaN increases the radar’s range, search capabilities and enables the system to better discriminate between threats and non-threats. Gallium nitride technology also increases the system’s overall reliability while maintaining production and operational costs.
«AN/TPY-2 is already the world’s most capable land-based, X-band, ballistic missile defense radar», said Raytheon’s Dave Gulla, vice president of the Integrated Defense Systems Mission Systems and Sensors business area. «Adding GaN technology modernizes the system so it can defeat all classes of ballistic missiles in extreme operational environments».
The AN/TPY-2 is on pace to be the world’s first transportable, land-based ballistic missile defense radar to use GaN technology.
The AN/TPY-2 radar operates in two modes:
In forward-based mode, the radar is positioned near hostile territory, and detects, tracks and discriminates ballistic missiles shortly after they are launched.
In terminal mode, the radar detects, acquires, tracks and discriminates ballistic missiles as they descend to their target. The terminal mode AN/TPY-2 is the fire control radar for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense ballistic missile defense system, by guiding the THAAD missile to intercept a threat.
Raytheon has led development and innovative use of GaN for 19 years and has invested more than $200 million to get this latest technology into the hands of military members faster and at lower cost and risk. Raytheon has demonstrated the maturity of the technology in a number of ways, including exceeding the reliability requirement for insertion into the production of military systems.
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has awarded Raytheon Company a contract modification to develop a transition to production process to incorporate Gallium Nitride, or GaN, components into existing and future AN/TPY-2 radars. This initial effort will support the transition from Gallium Arsenide to GaN technology, which would further modernize the ballistic missile defense radar and drive down system obsolescence.
As demonstrated in other Raytheon-developed military radar applications, Gallium Nitride has the capability to enhance range, increase detection and discrimination performance and lower production costs.
Currently fielded AN/TPY-2 radars use Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) based transmit/receive modules to emit high power radiation. Raytheon and MDA are pursuing a retrofit approach to leverage Gallium Nitride elements.
«GaN components have significant, proven advantages when compared to the previous generation GaAs technology», said Raytheon’s Dave Gulla, vice president of the Integrated Defense Systems Mission Systems and Sensors business area. «Through this effort, Raytheon will develop a clear modernization upgrade path for the AN/TPY-2 radar, enabling the system to better defend people and critical assets against ballistic missile threats at home and abroad».
The AN/TPY-2 is a transportable X-band radar that protects civilians and infrastructure in the U.S., deployed military personnel, and allied nations and security partners from the growing ballistic missile threat. According to recent Congressional testimony by the director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the threat is growing as potential adversaries acquire a greater number of ballistic missiles, increase their range, incorporate countermeasures and make them more complex, survivable, reliable and accurate.
An AN/TPY-2 radar can track a home run hit out of ball park from several hundred miles away. That’s just one of the features that have made this bus-sized radar the go-to radar for missile defense
The U.S. is bolstering its ability to intercept ballistic missiles fired from North Korea with the deployment of another Raytheon missile-defense radar in central Japan, said Brendan McGarry, Military.com correspondent. In a joint announcement, the U.S. and Japanese governments said a second so-called Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system, or AN/TPY-2, made by Raytheon Co. has been installed on the island nation. The announcement follows discussions last year between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe involving deployment of the technology that drew opposition from China.
The mobile unit is based in Kyogamisaki in the central part of the country, complementing an existing system already located Shariki in northern Japan. The Kyogamisaki site is believed to be ideal for such purposes because any short- or medium-range missile launched from North Korea against American military defenses in Guam or Hawaii would probably fly over the region.
The first step in defeating a ballistic missile that has been fired is «seeing» it. And that is where Raytheon’s AN/TPY-2 X-Band radar comes in. A critical element in the Ballistic Missile Defense System, AN/TPY-2 continually searches the sky for ballistic missiles. Once it detects a missile, it acquires it, tracks it, and uses its powerful radar and complex computer algorithms to discriminate between the warhead and non-threats such as countermeasures.
Depending on the needs of the warfighter, the AN/TPY-2 radar can be deployed in two different modes. In forward-based mode, the radar is positioned near hostile territory, and acquires ballistic missiles in the boost (ascent) phase of flight, shortly after they are launched. It then tracks and discriminates the threat, and passes critical information required by decision makers to the Command and Control Battle Management network.
When the AN/TPY-2 radar is deployed in terminal mode, the radar’s job is to detect, acquire, track and discriminate ballistic missiles in the terminal (descent) phase of flight. The terminal-mode AN/TPY-2 also leads the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system by guiding the THAAD missile to intercept a threat.
AN/TPY-2 has a record of flawless performance against all classes of ballistic missiles. In forward-based mode, it has proven capability against short-, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. In terminal mode, AN/TPY-2 has demonstrated its ability to enable an intercept of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. AN/TPY-2 can provide precise tracking information to any number of missile-defense batteries, including the truck-mounted THAAD, systems in the Pacific and the Middle East; the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System; or the Ground-based Mid-course Defense System in Alaska and California.
The radar itself is composed of four mobile components: an antenna unit, an electronics unit, a cooling unit and a prime power unit, according to information from the manufacturer. The system can be transported in such cargo planes as the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III, as well as in ships, railroad cars and trucks.
The U.S. Army, which has already purchased five of the radars, had previously planned to purchase as many as 18 of the units, though that number was reduced amid automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Last year, each was budgeted to cost about $173 million, according to budget documents.