Missile Defense Agency declares first delivery of long-range identification radar in Alaska

Washington — The US Missile Defense Agency has completed the installation of radar arrays and the construction of military installations. Long range identification radar (LRDR).

The agency held a December 6 ceremony at Radar’s location at the Clear Air Force Base in Alaska, proclaiming the first field of radar.

With the construction completed, the MDA will integrate the radar into the ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMD) and Command and Control Combat Management Communications (C2BMC) systems by the end of 2022 in preparation for formal operational approval by the US Air Force. In 2023, MDA Vice Admiral John Hill told reporters at a post-ceremony briefing.

“Once fully operational, the LRDR will simultaneously search and track multiple small objects, including ballistic missiles of all classes, over very long distances under continuous operation, the MDA said in a statement. It provides functionality. “

“It’s ability to identify deadly objects, such as enemy warheads, and distinguish them from non-lethal decoys,” the statement added.

NS Lockheed Martin LRDR According to the statement, it will help save on the number of ground-based mid-course defense (GMD) system interceptors used in threat involvement, and will also be able to address hypersonic missiles in future configurations.

The GMD is designed to protect the Americas from the threat of potential intercontinental ballistic missiles from North Korea and Iran.

“Today is a very important milestone for US defense,” Hill said in a statement. “The construction of the long-range identification radar is complete. Now we can begin the test phase to fully operate this critical system. With LRDR, the Northern Command is threatened with ballistic missiles and hypersonic missiles. You can better protect the United States from. “

The LRDR program was delayed due to a coronavirus pandemic. Radar was to conduct operational flight tests in the third quarter of 2021.

Hill confirmed that ground tests had begun prior to the flight test. “We are currently in the middle of that ground test, which is quite complicated. Because of the new features that long-range identification radar brings to the entire ground-based missile defense system, all upgrades and command control that the GMD system is doing. Think about the upgrades you’re making to, and start there. The ground test campaign is currently underway, followed by development testing, followed by operational testing. What we do is representative of the entire face of LRDR. It’s about skipping a threat model, “he said.

Pandemic problem

When the coronavirus began to spread in the United States in March 2020, the MDA had to stop all construction and integration activities of the LRDR. The program has become a “caretaker status”. ..

Government Accountability Office found in a recent report produced by LRDR Progress in 2020, The prime contractor has completed the installation of all 4 out of 10 primary array panels and 10 secondary array panels. The integration of radar electronics, cooling, communications and power equipment was also “started, but not completed as planned,” the report added.

Even before the pandemic, program officials were paying attention to the 19-year risks that could affect the movement of radar to the Air Force. “These risks included the manufacture of array panels, sub-array assembly suite modules, and auxiliary power group cabinets,” GAO reported.

Lockheed In 2008, we completed the sub-array assembly suite and auxiliary power supply group cabinet. However, GAO identified positive COVID-19 cases on the array panel production line, and from August 2020 to October 2020, the contractor relied on shift workers to segregate them. He said he delayed completion.

GAO said the contractor completed the installation of the remaining primary array panels in the first quarter of 2009.

GAO reports that the outage of the Clear Air Force station during the pandemic has led to higher costs, “negotiations are underway with contractors to address the additional costs.”

Reasons for increased costs include maintaining critical staff on-site to monitor radar and equipment, impact on production, on-site relocation, and “performance impact on overall contract”. increase.

Beyond ballistic missile defense

In its statement, the MDA said the LRDR would also support recognition of the space domain by monitoring space activities such as satellites orbiting the Earth, used rocket bodies, and fragmented debris.

In a discussion with Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Military Political Power Center, Hill said on December 6th, “Today’s homeland with sensors like the LRDR. I think the defense is in a really great place. “

“We have digitized the backends of these radars in close coordination with the Air Force, especially with today’s Space Force,” Hill said. “That is, you might look at one of the Early Warning Radars and say,’Oh, it was built in the 50’s and 60’s.’ But I tell you internally, they are very very capable sensors, and they will contribute to the recognition of all areas that Northern Command needs to protect their homeland. So I’m very excited about where we’re heading with the overall sensing capabilities. “

LRDR is currently focused on tracking ballistic missiles, but Hill said that although not yet an official requirement, software upgrades could provide LRDR’s ability to detect and track hypersonic weapons. Said there is.

Jen Judson is a Defense News ground war reporter. She has covered the defense of the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter for Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club’s Best Analytical Reporting Award in 2014 and was named Best Young Defense Journalist in the Defense Media Awards in 2018.

https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2021/12/06/us-missile-defense-agency-declares-initial-delivery-of-long-range-discrimination-radar-in-alaska/ Missile Defense Agency declares first delivery of long-range identification radar in Alaska

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