Tag Archives: Missile Defense Agency (MDA)

Long-Range Radar

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and the Space Force (USSF) marked the completion of construction on the Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) site at Clear Space Force Station, Alaska, during a ceremony on Monday, December 7, 2021.

Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR)
The Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) at Clear Space Force Station, Alaska, is a multi-mission, multi-face radar designed to provide search, track and discrimination capability in support of U.S. homeland defense, October 26, 2021

The multi-mission LRDR is designed, for now, to better track incoming ballistic missiles. It combines the capabilities of lower frequency radars – which can track multiple objects in space at long range, but are not able to help warfighters determine which objects are a threat – with the capabilities of higher-frequency radars, which have a more limited field of view but are better able to «discriminate» among multiple objects and figure out what of those is dangerous.

As ballistic missiles are launched and shed portions of themselves along their trajectory – including decoy and countermeasure material – the LRDR will help to determine which of those objects must be targeted by the missile defense system.

When fully operational, the multi-face LRDR – equipped with a 220-degree wide field of view and arrays measuring 60 feet/18.28 meters high by 60 feet/18.28 meters wide – will provide the ability to search, track and discriminate multiple, small objects in space, including all classes of ballistic missiles. Future iterations of the radar’s software will allow it to also track hypersonic missiles.

The information the LRDR provides will increase the effectiveness of the missile defense system and help the U.S. Northern Command better defend the United States.

The capabilities the LRDR provides will also serve as a new kind of deterrent against potential missile attacks by adversaries, said Army Lieutenant General A.C. Roper, the deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command.

«For years, the Department of Defense has subscribed to a mindset of deterrence through punishment – taking advantage of our global response to execute retaliatory strikes», Roper said.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has challenged the military to instead approach deterrence from a different perspective: deterrence through denial, Roper said.

«It’s a defense designed to give our potential adversaries pause», he said. «It is the type of deterrence that shifts their cost-benefit calculus, providing doubt that an attack will be successful. And the LRDR helps to shift that calculus».

The general told those responsible for designing and building the new LRDR system that they have given potential adversaries something to think about if they’re contemplating an attack on the U.S. homeland.

«This long-range discrimination radar is designed to defend the homeland by providing the unparalleled ability to search, track and discriminate multiple objects simultaneously», Roper said. «This radar provides a much-needed improvement to Northcom’s homeland ballistic missile defense mission, ultimately resulting in more effective and efficient employment of the ground-based interceptors».

Full Operational Capability (FOC) for the LRDR is expected in 2023, Navy Vice Admiral Jon A. Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency said. Right now, the newly built LRDR will be evaluated and integrated into existing systems.

«This initial delivery is an important step to declare that we’re done with a major construction. We are now fully into the test mode of this radar», Hill said. «That testing is so critical because it pushes you right into the integration, command and control into ground-based midcourse defense. That integration work will be complete and, then, in 2023, we’ll be able to do operational acceptance for Northern Command».

Right now, the primary requirement met by the LRDR is against a ballistic missile threat, but in future iterations of the LRDR, tracking of hypersonic weapons can also be included without significant changes to the system, Hill said.

«That is what the radar filters are designed to go after», Hill said. «To bring in what I call a filter – which means you can then space your tracking and your timing to go to hypersonic – that’s not a big leap … that is a software upgrade, but it is not the driving requirement for LRDR today».

Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR)
The LRDR complex also includes a mission control facility, power plant and maintenance facility, October 24, 2021

Project Hydra

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the U.S. Air Force successfully linked a U-2, five F-35s and an F-22 in air and provided real-time 5th Generation data to operators on the ground, introducing greater mission flexibility across domains and an enhanced total operational picture for the joint warfighter.

Project Hydra
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ Project Hydra Demonstrates 5th Gen To 5th Gen Communications Across Domains

Named Project Hydra, the latest flight test leveraged an Open Systems Gateway (OSG) payload aboard the U-2 to connect an F-22 to five F-35s via native Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL) and Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), successfully sharing data between all airborne aircraft and with nodes on the ground. The target tracks were also transmitted by and through the U-2 into the fighter avionics and pilot displays.

«Project Hydra marks the first time that bi-directional communications were established between 5th Generation aircraft in-flight while also sharing operational and sensor data down to ground operators for real-time capability», said Jeff Babione, vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. «This next-level connectivity reduces the data-to-decision timeline from minutes to seconds, which is critical in fighting today’s adversaries and advanced threats».

The Project Hydra effort also marked the first time F-35 sensor data was delivered to an operational ground system over a Tactical Targeting Network Terminal (TTNT) link using an airborne gateway. This data was then sent to the US Army Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) Airborne Sensor Adaptation Kit (A-Kit), also developed by Lockheed Martin. The A-Kit then transmitted data to the IBCS Tactical System Integration Laboratory (TSIL) at Fort Bliss, Texas. IBCS used the F-35 sensor data to conduct a simulated Army fires exercise.

The core of the Hydra payload leverages the Open Mission Systems (OMS) compliant Enterprise Mission Computer 2 (EMC2), facilitating F-22, F-35, TTNT and Link-16 connections.  By leveraging both Line-Of-Sight (LOS) and Beyond Line-Of-Sight (BLOS) datalink capabilities of the U-2, data can now be shared directly to tactical users and globally to Command and Control (C2) nodes like the Common Mission Control Center (CMCC). During this demonstration, both the CMCC and Shadow Operations Center at Nellis Air Force Base were able to view the sensor and platform data to enable situational awareness for operational command and control of highly capable air assets.

Bringing the power of 5th Generation data and exposing new C2 opportunities across multiple domains continues to demonstrate Lockheed Martin’s readiness to provide unmatched battlespace awareness and rapidly field capability today. This demonstration is another key step forward in Lockheed Martin’s support for the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System and the Army’s Project Convergence, supporting the goal of providing commanders critical tools for the joint all-domain battlespace environment.

Long Range Radar

The Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) program has completed delivery of the first ten antenna panels to Clear, Alaska, that will make up the first of the system’s two radar antenna arrays. Lockheed Martin continues to successfully achieve all program milestones as it works towards delivering the radar to MDA in 2020. The system will serve as a critical sensor within MDA’s layered defense strategy to protect the U.S. homeland from ballistic missile attacks.

Trucks transporting radar panels to Clear Air Force Station prepare to leave Lockheed Martin’s Moorestown, New Jersey, facility (Photo Courtesy Lockheed Martin)

The two radar antenna arrays will be comprised of a total of 20 panels, each about 27 feet/8.23 meters tall, measuring approximately four stories high and wide. Temporary structures have been assembled in front of the radar facility to ensure the panels are installed on schedule, regardless of weather conditions. The installation and integration of the radar system began last year and will be followed by the transition to the testing period.

Over 66% of program technical requirements have already been verified at Lockheed Martin’s Solid State Radar Integration Site (SSRIS). «We are confident in our product because of the extensive testing that we have been able to perform in the SSRIS over the past few years with production hardware and tactical software. We have successfully reduced a large amount of risk to ensure fielding of this critical capability on schedule in 2020», says Chandra Marshall, director of Lockheed Martin’s Missile Defense and Space Surveillance Radar programs.

In 2018, LRDR achieved Technical Readiness Level 7 using a scalable and modular gallium nitride based «subarray» radar building block, providing advanced performance and increased efficiency and reliability to pace ever-evolving threats. Scaled versions of the LRDR technology will be utilized for future radar programs including Aegis Ashore Japan, recently designated AN/SPY-7(V)1, Canadian Surface Combatant, and Spain’s F-110 Frigate program.

LRDR combines proven Solid State Radar (SSR) technologies with proven ballistic missile defense algorithms, all based upon an open architecture platform capable of meeting future growth. The system will provide around-the-clock threat acquisition, tracking and discrimination data to enable defense systems to lock on and engage ballistic missile threats.

Construction of the structure that will house the Long Range Discrimination Radar is almost complete at Clear Air Force Station in Clear, Alaska (Photo Courtesy Lockheed Martin)

Defense Radar-Hawaii

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $585 million contract by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to design, develop and deliver its Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii (HDR-H) in Oahu, Hawaii.

Missile Defense Agency Awards Lockheed Martin Contract To Design, Manufacture And Construct Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii
Missile Defense Agency Awards Lockheed Martin Contract To Design, Manufacture And Construct Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii

The HDR-H radar will provide autonomous acquisition and persistent precision tracking and discrimination to optimize the defensive capability of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and counter evolving threats.

«Lockheed Martin will leverage the development of our Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) to provide the lowest risk and best value HDR-H solution to MDA, which includes open, scalable architecture for future growth», said Chandra Marshall, program director for Lockheed Martin’s Missile Defense Radars market segment.

LRDR is currently under construction in Clear, Alaska, and is scheduled for an on-time delivery in 2020. The system’s open architecture design will enable future growth to keep pace with emerging threats.

«LRDR completed a key milestone in August, successfully searching for, acquiring and tracking numerous satellites, known as a closed loop track, confirming our design is complete, mature and ready for full rate production in 2019», said Marshall.

The work for HDR-H will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey, and Oahu, Hawaii.

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 missile design and production, hit-to-kill capabilities, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, radar and signal processing, as well as threat-representative targets for missile defense tests.

S-Band radar

Lockheed Martin completed a rigorous Critical Design Review (CDR) on September 28 with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) for the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), demonstrating compliance to all technical performance measures and requirements. The radar system will support a layered ballistic missile defense strategy to protect the U.S. homeland from ballistic missile attacks.

Lockheed Martin’s new SSRIS in Moorestown, New Jersey, provides significant risk reduction for the development of the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) and future solid state radar systems. Lockheed Martin made the investment to build the new test site (Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin)
Lockheed Martin’s new SSRIS in Moorestown, New Jersey, provides significant risk reduction for the development of the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) and future solid state radar systems. Lockheed Martin made the investment to build the new test site (Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin)

The MDA awarded the $784 million contract to Lockheed Martin in 2015 to develop, build and test LRDR, and the company is on track on an aggressive schedule to deliver the radar to Clear, Alaska in 2020. Teams from Lockheed Martin, MDA Sensors Directorate and the Command and Control, Battle Management, and Communications or C2BMC have worked interfaces closely to ensure seamless integration.

Successfully executing CDR validates that the LRDR system is ready to proceed into fabrication, demonstration, and test and that the hardware and software component have achieved Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 7 and Manufacturing Readiness Level 7.

With the completion of CDR, the program now begins the start of low rate manufacturing which began in October. In preparation for full rate manufacturing starting in mid-2018, Lockheed Martin will be utilizing production hardware in combination with prototype systems, tactical back-end processing equipment as well as tactical software to demonstrate system performance in an operational environment to achieve system TRL 7. Lockheed Martin will be performing a series of tests in the Solid State Radar Integration Site (SSRIS) including a closed loop satellite track test.

«We remain committed to support the MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense and Homeland Defense Missions», said Chandra Marshall, LRDR program director, Lockheed Martin. «I am extremely proud of the team for their dedication and commitment to the successful execution of the LRDR program.  This team has achieved every milestone, including this CDR, on schedule since contract award in 2015».

Marshall continued, «I am extremely pleased with the progress the entire LRDR team has made in the two years since contract award. With the success of CDR, LRDR is on track for Initial Operating Capability or IOC in 2020».

In addition to CDR, Lockheed Martin conducted a Facilities Design Review in October for the LRDR equipment shelter design. Lockheed Martin will run a full and open competition for the construction of the equipment shelter in Clear, Alaska and will begin construction of the shelter in the first half of 2019. The MDA team is preparing the site for Radar System Installation and checkout mobilization, constructing the Mission Control Facility and starting the foundation for the LRDR equipment shelter.

Similar to Lockheed Martin’s Space Fence radar system, LRDR is a high-powered S-Band radar incorporating solid-state Gallium Nitride (GaN) components. LRDR adds the capability of discriminating threats at extreme distances using the inherent wideband capability of the hardware coupled with advanced software algorithms.

LRDR is a strategic national asset of the MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System and will provide 24/7/365 acquisition, tracking and discrimination data to enable defense systems to lock on and engage ballistic missile threats, a capability that stems from Lockheed Martin’s decades of experience in creating ballistic missile defense systems for the U.S. and allied governments.

Lockheed Martin is well positioned to provide low risk, scalable radar solutions that address critical homeland defense needs; providing a persistent capability to keep pace with evolving threats, delivering unmatched discrimination capability in the Pacific architecture, and increasing the defensive capability of Ground Based Interceptors.

Work on LRDR is primarily performed in New Jersey, Alaska, Alabama, Florida and New York.

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, and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, as well as threat-representative targets for missile defense tests.

The Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) is a high-powered S-Band radar incorporating solid-state Gallium Nitride (GaN) components capable of discriminating threats at extreme distances. LRDR is a strategic national asset of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and will provide 24/7/365 acquisition, tracking and discrimination data to enable separate defense systems to lock on and engage ballistic missile threats (Image courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) is a high-powered S-Band radar incorporating solid-state Gallium Nitride (GaN) components capable of discriminating threats at extreme distances. LRDR is a strategic national asset of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and will provide 24/7/365 acquisition, tracking and discrimination data to enable separate defense systems to lock on and engage ballistic missile threats (Image courtesy Lockheed Martin)