17 November 2017 : Lockheed Martin has completed a rigorous critical design review (CDR) with the US 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 US homeland from ballistic missile attacks.
Similar to Lockheed Martin’s Space Fence radar system, LRDR is a high-powered S-band radar incorporating solid-state gallium nitride (GaN) components. It 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 (BMDS) 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 USA and allied governments.
The MDA awarded the $784m contract to Lockheed Martin in 2015 to develop, build and test LRDR, and the firm 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 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.
“This team has achieved every milestone, including this CDR, on schedule since contract award in 2015,” notes Lockheed Martin’s LRDR program director Chandra Marshall. “With the success of CDR, LRDR is on track for initial operating capability (IOC) in 2020.”
In addition to CDR, Lockheed Martin conducted a facilities design review in October for the LRDR equipment shelter design. The firm 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 first-half 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.