WASHINGTON — The first antenna array for the U.S. Army’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor passed through initial testing at Raytheon’s Massachusetts-based facility, and it will embark on future testing at an outdoor range in the short term, a company official told Defense News.
The antenna array went into an indoor, climate-controlled test range, and its performance was evaluated against simulated targets, Bob Kelley, Raytheon’s director of domestic integrated air and missile defense programs for business development and strategy, said during a March 16 interview.
The technology “came out fantastic on the other side,” he added.
Now the array will be mounted on a precision-machined enclosure for integration, Kelley said, and then it will head to a range for testing with real-world targets such as air traffic coming in and out of Boston’s Logan International Airport.
Raytheon is plowing ahead with an aggressive schedule to deliver the first LTAMDS radar to the Army next year. So far it’s on track and on schedule.
The company finished building the first radar antenna array in less than 120 days after being selected for the job, following a competition to replace the service’s Patriot air and missile defense system sensor.
The radar will become a part of the service’s future Integrated Air and Missile Defense System that will replace the entire Patriot system. Raytheon also manufactures the Patriot.
Raytheon has taken its years of experience refining gallium nitride technology at its Massachusetts-based foundry to help design a new radar system that will provide the Army 360-degree threat detection capability in a configuration that includes one large array in the front and two smaller arrays in the back.
The contract is worth roughly $384 million to deliver six production-representative units of the LTAMDS. The Army is working to rapidly deliver initial capability under an urgent materiel release.
The service in 2019 held a “sense-off” at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, between three working radars from Raytheon, a Lockheed Martin and Elta Systems team, and Northrop Grumman.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.