Raytheon, an RTX business, has been awarded $7 million to advance development and assessment of the company’s GhostEye MR radar, an advanced medium-range sensor for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS.
These are the first government contracts for GhostEye MR, a multi-mission radar designed and developed by Raytheon via internal research and development investments. Funding will support continued radar development and then an operational assessment at White Sands Missile Range later this year.
«This government support confirms the growing relevance and demand for the capabilities of GhostEye MR, as nations around the globe look to bolster their air defense», said Tom Laliberty, president of Land & Air Defense Systems at Raytheon. «Partnering with DoD, Air Force, and Kongsberg, we will showcase the sensor’s range of capabilities against a multitude of emerging threats».
The experiment at White Sands will assess the operational performance of GhostEye MR, with the radar providing effective surveillance cues and integrating with the combat-proven NASAMS air defense system. This follows the Strategic Developmental Planning & Experimentation (SDPE) office’s successful air base air defense experiment in Andøya, Norway, last September, which showcased NASAMS’ ability to engage and intercept various advanced aerial threats using multiple Raytheon missile types and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace’s Fire Distribution Center, or FDC. The operational assessment in September will build upon the capabilities demonstrated in Andøya by utilizing the U.S. Air Force’s relevant command and control to link GhostEye MR with NASAMS’ FDC.
Funding consists of a contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Lab’s SDPE office and the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Rapid Prototyping Program (RPP).
A member of Raytheon’s GhostEye family of sensors, GhostEye MR is an advanced medium-range multi-mission radar for NASAMS. The radar, introduced in 2021, provides increased range and altitude coverage to expand the defended-area capabilities of NASAMS. Additionally, GhostEye MR leverages commonality with the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) that Raytheon is building for the U.S. Army.
Right now, that’s especially true of the medium‐range mission space, which has seen a proliferation of adversarial cruise missiles, drones, fixed‐wing and rotary wing aircraft.
«Today’s battlefield moves at a very rapid pace, and it’s riddled with a large portfolio of threats», said Joe DeAntona, a retired U.S. Army colonel who is now vice president for Land Warfare and Air Defense requirements and capabilities at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «Informed decisions must be made in seconds – not minutes or hours».
Modern missile defense is about more than speed, said DeAntona, who was an air and missile defender for more than 30 years. He added that militaries also require radars that see in 360 degrees and can search, track, discriminate and cue interceptors against multiple types of threats.
Integrates with a proven system
Raytheon Missiles & Defense, or RMD, is offering GhostEye MR radar for integration with the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS.
This medium‐range air defense solution, made in partnership with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, has been operational for more than three decades and is currently used by the U.S. and 11 allied nations. The widespread adoption of NASAMS «indicates the highest level of confidence by a global customer base», DeAntona said.
GhostEye MR «integrates with NASAMS and absolutely takes that system to the next level», said Lindsay Viana, director of ground‐based air defense on RMD’s Requirements and Capabilities team.
«This radar expands the range and altitude that the proven NASAMS defends, dramatically increasing overall effectiveness of the air defense capability». Viana said.
As a component of NASAMS, the sensor maximizes the range of that system’s effectors – including RMD’s Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Extended Range variant, or AMRAAM‐ER – improving accuracy and performance.
In particular, GhostEye MR’s combination of two key technologies – Active Electronically Scanned Array, or AESA, and military‐grade Gallium Nitride, or GaN – give the sensor a distinct advantage.
«With the addition of GhostEye MR, we extend battlespace coverage to the full kinematic envelope, or reachable area, of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile Extended Range (AMRAAM‐ER) effector», Viana said.
Leveraging LTAMDS commonality
As the latest product in RMD’s GhostEye family of radars, the medium‐range sensor leverages commonality with the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS, technology that the company is making for the U.S. Army.
«The architecture of our GhostEye family of radars is scalable and modular, enabling a wide range of missions», DeAntona said, adding that «these advancements are now being applied to the GhostEye MR mission set. It’s all logistically streamlined, cost‐effective and easy to integrate».
Raytheon Missiles & Defense adds and extends capabilities through secure software upgrades via «software‐defined aperture» digital technology – similar to that used in updating smartphones, though far more sophisticated. And, there’s no need to take the radar out of the field for these upgrades.
Adaptability and interoperability
As sophisticated threats evolve, so too does NASAMS with GhostEye MR. The system’s open architecture allows technology adaptations and updates that empower it to counter adversaries in the ever‐expanding medium range.
Another advantage is its interoperability – the capability to communicate with other systems – for strengthening strategic agility and flexibility.
«That is crucial, and NASAMS has it», said DeAntona. «NASAMS meets all NATO requirements for interoperability. It can communicate with other weapons systems on the NATO network – doing so in real time».
Meanwhile, GhostEye MR is on an accelerated path toward integration in NASAMS. For instance, it is already approved to be part of that system’s fire direction‐and‐control loop. Raytheon Missiles & Defense employed a comprehensive digital design environment spanning the radar’s physical and functional characteristics as well as modeling and simulation to assess its effective performance in a variety of mission scenarios.
The sensor is currently undergoing open‐air testing and multi‐mission demonstrations. The data collected through these events is being used to enhance the fidelity of the digital design models.
«When GhostEye MR searches for something», DeAntona said, «it does so with such fidelity, such accuracy, that it can provide the effector the real time information it needs to take action».
The latest addition to the GhostEye MR family of radars made by Raytheon Missiles & Defense will counter escalating medium-range threats and fortify layered air and missile defense
Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, introduces GhostEye MR, a new medium-range radar for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS. GhostEye MR is on display at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting and exhibition, in booth #2147 of NASAMS partner Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.
The increased range and altitude coverage provided by GhostEye MR expands NASAMS capability to detect, track and identify enemy aircraft, unmanned aircraft systems, and cruise missile threats. The extended range of this new sensor also maximizes the capabilities of the family of effectors employed by NASAMS.
GhostEye MR is a variant of the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) that the company is building for the U.S. Army. It is a scalable Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar providing 360-degree surveillance and advanced fire control capabilities. Raytheon’s name for the family of radars based on LTAMDS is GhostEye. GhostEye MR is a separate, but concurrent, radar development program funded by Raytheon Missiles & Defense that leverages LTAMDS technology baseline and common manufacturing processes.
«GhostEye MR makes NASAMS even more capable for our current and future customers around the globe», said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense, a Raytheon Missiles & Defense business area. «We’re leveraging the best of our technology development from the U.S. Army’s most advanced radar to give the U.S. and our allies a robust sensor that can defend against a wide range of threats».
Building on the progress of the LTAMDS program, GhostEye MR is on an accelerated path to availability. The sensor’s capabilities and performance were tested through a series of modeling and simulation-based threat scenarios. The radar will undergo open air testing in 2022, followed by customer demonstrations.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense, in partnership with Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, produces and supports NASAMS. The system has been chosen by 12 countries for their air defense needs and has been integrated into the U.S. National Capital Region’s air defense system since 2005. In addition to the U.S., Norway, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands, Oman, Lithuania, Indonesia, Australia, Qatar, Hungary and one undisclosed country have selected NASAMS for defense of their homeland and critical assets.
Raytheon’s GhostEye MR is the latest program in the company’s vast portfolio of sophisticated radar systems, extending a legacy of technological innovation and manufacturing expertise that spans decades. The GhostEye family of radars will enhance the capabilities of U.S. and allies to defend against short, medium, and long-range threats.