WASHINGTON — Poland will be the first international customer for the U.S. Army’s new air and missile defense radar still in development, according to a Sept. 5 statement by manufacturer RTX.
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak approved a letter of acceptance to buy 12 RTX-developed Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensors, or LTAMDS, along with 48 Patriot launchers, the statement noted.
These new radars will be integrated into Poland’s air and missile defense architecture, known as the Wisla program, which already consists of RTX’s Patriot air defense system and the Northrop Grumman-developed Integrated Battle Command System, or IBCS. The country reached an agreement with the U.S. in 2018 to buy the Patriot system with IBCS.
The U.S. Army is developing the new 360-degree radar for its own future Integrated Air and Missile Defense Systems that will replace the Patriot. The system will consist of IBCS — as the command-and-control system — plus the LTAMDS radar and a launcher.
Having obtained a waiver to do so, Poland was the first country, even ahead of the U.S. Army, to receive and field the IBCS system. The service approved IBCS to move into full-rate production in April 2023 just as Poland received its systems in country.
Poland plans to complete its system integration and checkout process in October with the first set of Patriot systems and IBCS.
Meanwhile, RTX has completed building the six LTAMDS radars under contract for the U.S. Army. Congress mandated that the service field an LTAMDS battalion of four sensors by December 2023.
The Army awarded RTX a contract to build LTAMDS prototypes in 2019. But program officials have made adjustments over the past few years in order to meet the congressional requirements because of integration challenges and supply chain delays caused by COVID-19.
The Army has since made progress with the LTAMDS program, Brig. Gen. Frank Lozano, the service’s program executive officer for missiles and space, told Defense News last month. Contractor verification testing for the radars has gone well, he added, and developmental testing has begun.
The Army is providing its first four prototypes to the formation designated as the first unit equipped with a primary radar sector capability by December 2023, and will later add a secondary radar capability.
The Army plans to conduct an operational assessment in the first quarter of fiscal 2025 that will lead to an engineering and manufacturing development decision in FY25 — a preliminary step toward eventual serial production.
For Poland, LTAMDS will be a part of its second phase of the Wisla program.
“Poland’s expansion of its Wisla program will fortify the country’s security and defense against a range of air and missile threats,” Tom Laliberty, president of land and air defense systems at RTX, said in the statement.
Already nine Polish suppliers have contributed “systems elements and components” for the Patriot system as part of the first phase of the Wisla program, RTX noted in its statement. And, according to the company, opportunities to support LTAMDS in Polish industry will be available.
Five Polish industry partners, all members of the PGZ group, will receive technology, equipment and training to enable them to produce and maintain components of LTAMDS, according to the statement. “It is envisioned they will become part of the LTAMDS global supply chain.”
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.