Airmen prepare to do an inspection on a TPS-75 radar in 2012. The 3DELRR program will replace the AN/TPS-75 system. (Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon/US Air Force)
WASHINGTON — The US Air Force could award the contract for its Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) program as early as next week, sources tell Defense News.
The 3DELRR program will replace the aging AN/TPS-75 system as the “grab and go” radar used in the field.
The exact date for a contract award is uncertain. A Defense Acquisition Board, one of the final steps before awarding a contract, is scheduled for Aug. 27, sources said. That sets up next week as the earliest an award would come.
Barring a surprise, the contract will likely be awarded before the Sept. 15 start of the Air Force Association's Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition, held outside of Washington D.C.
The service has previously set a timeline for the program that includes a critical design review by the end of the first quarter of 2015, low-rate initial production in early fiscal 2018 and initial deployment by fiscal 2020.
Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman are vying to produce the radar.
The winner of the competition will develop 35 systems for the Air Force, a relatively small number. But company officials have noted there is a robust international market for ground-based radars. Whomever wins the right to design and produce a new system for the Air Force would have a leg up when it comes to competitions with allies around the globe.
In fiscal 2015 budget documents, the Air Force notes the US Marine Corps is considering using 3DELRR as a replacement for its AN/TPS-59, opening another potential market.
While not one of the top-tier priorities for the service, analysts say 3DELRR plugs current holes in the service’s ability to track cruise missiles or unmanned systems abroad.