Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR)
Similar to Lockheed Martin's Space Fence radar system, Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) is a high-powered S-Band radar incorporating solid-state gallium nitride (GaN) components, but is additionally capable of discriminating threats at extreme distances using the inherent wideband capability of the hardware coupled with advanced software algorithms. LRDR is a key component of the MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and will provide acquisition, tracking and discrimination data to enable separate 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 U.S. and allied governments.
The Defense Department on 06 December 2021 said the US military had completed construction on the long-range radar for an Alaska-based missile-defense system that can track intercontinental ballistic missiles. The system is based at the Clear Space Force Station, about 300 miles north of the city of Anchorage. The system will protect the United States against future threats such as hypersonic weapons. The Defense Department said in 2015 that it was planning to deploy a new long-range radar in central Alaska that would help U.S. missile defenses better identify potential missiles launched by Iran or North Korea and bolster the capacity of interceptors in that state and in California.
"The Long Range Discrimination Radar [LRDR] has finished construction, and we can now begin the testing phase that will lead to the full operational use of this vital system. LRDR will allow Northern Command to better defend the United States from ballistic and hypersonic missile threats," said Vice Admiral Jon Hill, the Pentagon Missile Defense Agency director. "Once fully operational, LRDR will provide unparalleled ability to simultaneously search and track multiple small objects, including all classes of ballistic missiles, at very long ranges," the agency said in a statement.
The 2016 Union of Concerned Scientists report noted "There has been no official public discussion as to why S-band (2–4 GHz) was chosen over the higher frequency X-band (8–12 GHz), which is used by the TPY-2 radar and the GMD’s current discrimination radar, the SBX. ... Since a radar’s range resolution — the length scale on which it can attempt to resolve separate features on a target— is roughly inversely proportional to bandwidth and bandwidth is roughly proportional to frequency, it would be expected that an X-band radar (about 9–10 GHz) would have a range resolution roughly three times better than an S-band radar (2–4 GHz). (Frequencies much higher than X-band are precluded by atmospheric effects). Thus while an X-band radar might achieve a range resolution of 15–25 cm, an S-band radar might achieve only 50–100 cm, depending on the precise frequency within the S-band."
The Missile Defense Agency Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget requested $79.5 million to begin development of a Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR). The new LRDR is a mid-course tracking radar that will provide persistent sensor coverage and improve discrimination capabilities against threats to the homeland from the Pacific theater. This new radar also will give the Sea-Based X-band (SBX) radar more geographic deployment flexibility for contingency and test use.
The Missile Defense Agency Long Range Discrimination Radar Request for Information [Reference-Number: SN HQ0147-14-R-0002] was issued 14 March 2014. MDA would utilize responses received from this Request for Information (RFI) to evaluate industry capability to respond to MDA LRDR requirements and potential for participation in joint Government and Industry technology demonstrations, including responses to a possible future RFP.
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Sensors Directorate (SN) was conducting market research to determine industry interest and capability for development, installation, and initial operations/ sustainment of a land-based Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR). Procurement of the LRDR will provide the Warfighter with a persistent midcourse Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) discrimination capability contributing to the MDA mission of developing and deploying a layered BMDS to defend the United States from ballistic missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.
The LRDR will serve as a BMDS midcourse sensor to mitigate threat evolution, as well as improve discrimination capability in the Pacific architecture, increasing the defensive capacity of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptor inventory.
The LRDR initial set of capability requirements are stated in the Classified Appendix that is available in the RFI Library or via distribution to organizations with approved storage for classified data. Major design trade areas were expected to include:
- Operating frequency band trades to perform precision tracking, discrimination, and hit assessment. The government is not specifying an operating band, but is looking for recommendations with rationale.
- Limited Field of View (LFOV) and Full Field of View (FFOV) trades for an aperture of a given radar sensitivity (see Classified Appendix) addressing performance and cost impacts.
- Scan loss imposed by operating over the battle space described in the Classified Appendix. Maximium re-visit rate or maximum reaction time against dispersed threats (raid) under the conditions specified in the Classified Appendix. Respondents may employ pulse integration to compensate for scan loss but must address the impact on achievable measurement rate.
- Mechanical slewing in azimuth or azimuth-elevation is acceptable but must consider the impacts upon cost and mission timeline.
- Polarization selection and subsequent impacts upon cost and sensitivity (target radar cross section and incremental signal-to-noise loss). Address performance areas such as debris rejection, classification, and discrimination.
- Concepts addressing electronic protection (i.e. fly-along jamming mitigation).
- Design opportunities for reduction in power consumption.
- Describe the elevation operational limits to the sensor and the minimum elevation angle. Identify mitigation methods for the atmospheric impacts at lower elevation.
The Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) Draft Request for Proposal (DRFP) HQ0147-14-R-0002 Industry Day was held April 10, 2014 from 07:30 – 11:30 central standard time (CST) at the Missile Defense Agency. The amended Request for Proposal (RFP) represented the Government’s requirement and supersedes any information posted to date.
Navy Adm. William E. Gortney, the commander of U.S. Northern Command and of North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, testified 12 March 2015 before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Northcom's fiscal year 2016 budget request. Gortney told the panel that the likeliest and most dangerous threat to his ability to protect the homeland is sequestration. The Missile Defense Agency would have to go to new starts, Gortney said, putting on hold the long-range discrimination radar, improvements to the advance kill vehicle and a multi-object kill vehicle -- all part of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System.
Lockheed Martin Corp., Moorestown, New Jersey, was awarded a $784,289,883 fixed-price incentive contract with options to develop, deploy, test, and operate a Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR). Lockheed beat Raytheon Co and Northrop Grumman Corp. The LRDR will provide persistent discrimination capability to the Ballistic Missile Defense system to support the defense of the homeland. Work will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey; and at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska. The period of performance is Oct. 21, 2015 through Jan. 21, 2024. Fiscal 2015 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $35,500,000 are being obligated at time of award. This contract was a competitively awarded acquisition with three offers received. The Missile Defense Agency, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity (HQ0147-16-C-0011).
Andrea Shalal at Reuters reported that "Lockheed said it drew on its experience building Aegis radar systems for the Navy and a separate Aegis Ashore site in Romania, as well as its work on a variety of other missile defense programs in shaping its winning bid. Another key enabler, the company said, was its work on the Space Fence, another long-range radar system it is building for the U.S. Air Force... Analysts said they expected one or both of the losing bidders to file a protest against the decision."
Preliminary Design Review (PDR)
In April 2017, less than 18 months from contract award, the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), developed by Lockheed Martin, passed Preliminary Design Review (PDR), indicating that detailed design on the radar system can move forward. The radar system will support a layered ballistic missile defense strategy to protect the U.S. homeland from ballistic missile attacks.
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in 2015 awarded the $784 million contract to Lockheed Martin to develop, build and test LRDR, and the company was on track on an aggressive schedule to deliver the radar to Clear, Alaska. Lockheed Martin passed PDR by demonstrating both a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) 6, putting the team on a path to achieve TRL 7 later in 2017 allowing the program transition to manufacturing. Lockheed Martin utilized a scaled LRDR system to successfully demonstrate Critical Technology Elements (CTEs) in a relevant end to end environment.
During the two-day PDR, representatives from the MDA and the Office of Secretary of Defense, toured Lockheed Martin's facility to see the LRDR Prototype System and the new Solid State Radar Integration Site, a self-funded test facility that will be utilized to demonstrate TRL 7 and provide significant risk reduction for development of LRDR and future solid state radar systems.
"Lockheed Martin is committed to supporting the nation's Integrated Air & Missile Defense and homeland defense missions and we are actively investing in research and technologies that will lead to advanced solutions," said Chandra Marshall, LRDR program director, Lockheed Martin. "The Solid State Radar Integration Site will be used to mature, integrate and test the LRDR design and building blocks before we deliver the radar to Alaska. Using this test site will result in significant cost savings and less risk overall."
"We built an open non-proprietary architecture that allows incorporation of the algorithms from small businesses, labs and the government, to provide an advanced discrimination capability for homeland defense," said Tony DeSimone, vice president, engineering and technology, Lockheed Martin Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors.
Critical Design Review (CDR)
Lockheed Martin completed a rigorous Critical Design Review (CDR) on 18 September 2017 with the 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 U.S. homeland from ballistic missile attacks. Successfully executing CDR validated 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.
The MDA awarded the $784 million contract to Lockheed Martin in 2015 to develop, build and test LRDR, and the company 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.
With the completion of CDR, the program now begins the start of 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.
"We remain committed to support the MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense and Homeland Defense Missions," said Chandra Marshall, LRDR program director, Lockheed Martin. "I am extremely proud of the team for their dedication and commitment to the successful execution of the LRDR program. This team has achieved every milestone, including this CDR, on schedule since contract award in 2015." Marshall continued, "I am extremely pleased with the progress the entire LRDR team has made in the two years since contract award. With the success of CDR, LRDR is on track for initial operating capability or IOC in 2020."
In addition to CDR, Lockheed Martin conducted a Facilities Design Review in October for the LRDR equipment shelter design. Lockheed Martin 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 the first half of 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.
Similar to Lockheed Martin's Space Fence radar system, LRDR is a high-powered S-Band radar incorporating solid-state gallium nitride (GaN) components. LRDR 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 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 U.S. and allied governments.
The August 8, 2014 Draft Request for Proposal (DRFP) included FixedPrice-lncentive-Firm Target (FPI(F)), Firm-Fixed-Price (FFP), Cost-Plus-Incentive-Fee (CPIF), and Cost Contract Line Item Numbers (CLlNs). For planning purposes Offerors were to consider both Eareckson Air Station and Clear Air Force Station, Alaska as possible site locations for the LRDR. The Government requestd a price estimate by Government fiscal year for the following radar configurations at Eareckson Air Station and Clear Air Force Station, Alaska:
- S-band single face populated
- S-band dual face radar with primary face populated
- S-band dual face with both faces populated
The May 21, 2015 report of the Senate Appropriations Committee S. Rept. 114-57 - 114th Congress (2015-2016) noted "Section 128 of the Military Construction Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2014 prohibited the use of funds for ``the decommissioning the Combined Heat and Power Plant at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, until the Comptroller General of the United States conducts a review of the data used by the Department of Defense, including data in the Environmental Impact Statement and fiscal year 2010 Feasibility Study, to determine whether decommissioning the Combined Heat and Power Plant is the most cost-effective and beneficial option for the day-to-day operations and missions at the installation in support of United States national security.'' On April 7, 2014, the Government Accountability Office [GAO] released to the subcommittee a report in response to this mandate. After the completion of that report the Missile Defense Agency announced that Clear Air Force Station is under consideration as a possible site for the new Long Range Discrimination Radar [LRDR] facility. If the LRDR is sited at Clear Air Force Station, the heat and power requirements and national security considerations are expected to significantly exceed those considered in the April 2014 GAO report. Moreover, the operators of the LRDR may find it advantageous for the Air Force to maintain the Combined Heat and Power Plant for security and operational reasons. In light of these changed circumstances, the Committee urges the Air Force to delay the decommissioning of the Combined Heat and Power Plant at Clear Air Force Station until such time as the future utility requirements can more accurately be determined."
The Department of Defense announced May 22, 2015 a proposal to deploy a planned Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) in Alaska, pending completion of required environmental and safety studies. Current plans called for the radar to begin defensive operations in 2020.
The new LRDR will serve as a midcourse sensor to improve target discrimination capability for the US Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) to better address potential countermeasures and increase the capacity of the ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) inventory of interceptors in Alaska and California. The Missile Defense Agency is moving forward with the design and development of the radar and assessing US industry proposals to meet the required technical performance to counter the emerging threat and support future BMDS architecture needs.
Clear Air Force Station, an Air Force Space Command radar station located in central Alaska, has been tentatively identified as the preferred location for the LRDR. A siting decision will be finalized only after the environmental impact analysis process has been completed. Alaska’s Congressional Delegation noted a major benchmark in Alaska’s military infrastructure presence, as the Pentagon informed them that Clear Air Force Station in Anderson had been proposed to be the future site of the Missile Defense Agency’s long range discrimination radar system (LRDR). The system is reported to be valued at $940 million worth of technology, hardware and on-site construction. The Missile Defense Agency Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget included a request for $138 million to continue the development of a Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR).
On 03 July 2018 Japan selected Lockheed Martin Corp’s advanced radar for its multibillion-dollar missile defense system. Raytheon Co’s SPY-6 radar system was also in the running. Japan planned to buy two Aegis Ashore batteries to be deployed in 2023 in an upgrade of its missile defenses against the arsenals of North Korea and China.
The Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) program completed delivery of its first radar panel to Clear, Alaska by 06 August 2019, and placement of the final beam on the radar shelter as the program continues to successfully achieve all milestones and work towards delivery to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in 2020 at its Clear, Alaska site. The panel is just one of 20 that will be shipped to Alaska in the coming months as manufacturing and construction of the radar site continue to progress on schedule. The panels will make up the radar's two antenna faces, both approximately four stories high and wide.
The radar system will serve as a critical sensor within MDA's layered defense strategy to protect the U.S. homeland from ballistic missile attacks. Construction of the framework for the facility in Clear, Alaska, which will house the radar system, has been completed. The final beam, painted in red, white and blue, was installed in June. Approximately 1,800 tons of steel will be used to build the facility. "Crews from Lockheed Martin, Haskell Davis Joint Venture and local Alaskan contractors have worked through challenging conditions, including sub-zero temperatures, in constructing the radar facility," said Marshall. "We've made the necessary safety accommodations so that our team remains on schedule to ensure LRDR's critical capabilities will be delivered to MDA to defend the homeland."
On the heels of completing System Technology Readiness Level 7 testing in December 2018, the LRDR program has been steadily ramping up to full-rate manufacturing. "Completion of Technology Readiness Level 7 testing provided Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and the MDA customer confidence that the program was ready to ramp up production of the radar," said Chandra Marshall, director of Lockheed Martin's MDA Radars. "Lockheed Martin utilized production representative hardware, as well as tactical back end processing and software in our Solid State Radar Integration Site (SSRIS) to successfully demonstrate system performance in an operational environment in 2018." Lockheed Martin invested in this state-of-the-art radar facility to reduce risk to execution of the LRDR program.
LRDR combines proven solid state radar (SSR) technologies with proven ballistic missile defense algorithms, all based upon an open architecture platform capable of meeting future growth. "Solid state radar is the cornerstone of our current and future radar development," said Dr. Rob Smith, vice president and general manager of Radar and Sensors Systems at Lockheed Martin.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|