Construction moves forward on ballistic missile defense gallium nitride (GaN) radar system in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska; Construction is moving forward on a U.S. military project to build a new ballistic missile defense system in Central Alaska that involves a gallium nitride (GaN)-based solid-state active electronically scanned array (AESA) early warning radar.

Mar 11th, 2019
Construction moves forward on ballistic missile defense gallium nitride (GaN) radar system in Alaska
Construction moves forward on ballistic missile defense gallium nitride (GaN) radar system in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska; Construction is moving forward on a U.S. military project to build a new ballistic missile defense system in Central Alaska that involves a gallium nitride (GaN)-based solid-state active electronically scanned array (AESA) early warning radar.

Officials of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Anchorage, Alaska, announced a $128.7 million contract Friday to ASRC Construction Holding Co. LLC in Anchorage, Alaska, to build the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) power plant at Clear Air Force Station near Fairbanks, Alaska.

The LRDR, planned for service in 2020 is part of the U.S. ground-based midcourse defense anti-ballistic missile system. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in Huntsville, Ala., awarded the Lockheed Martin Corp. Rotary and Mission Systems segment in Moorestown, N.J., a $784.3 million contract in late 2015 to build the LRDR.

The LRDR program is the backbone of the MDA's layered defense to protect the U.S. homeland from ballistic missile attack. It will be a long-range radar that will provide precision metric data to improve ballistic defense discrimination and replace existing sensors in the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).

Related: Northrop Grumman to upgrade U.S. early warning military radar to help prevent ballistic missile attack

LRDR will keep pace with evolving ballistic missile threats and increase the effectiveness of ground based interceptors, Lockheed Martin officials say.

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LRDR combines proven solid-state radar technologies with proven ballistic missile defense algorithms on an open-architecture designed for future growth. The solid state GaN radar uses Lockheed Martin’s Open GaN Foundry model, which leverages relationships with strategic GaN suppliers, company officials say.

The LRDR will provide a persistent midcourse ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) discrimination capability as part of a layered defense of the U.S. from ballistic missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.

The radar will serve as a BMDS midcourse sensor to counter evolving ballistic missile threats, as well as improve the ability to tell real ballistic missile warheads from decoys in any attack in the Pacific Ocean area.

Related: BAE Systems to continue upgrading and maintaining long-range early warning missile defense radar

MDA officials are asking Lockheed Martin to have the BMDS finished and operational no later than 2020. Lockheed Martin also will investigate issues related to graceful processor re-hosting, such as modular, loosely coupled software design, with documented interfaces that facilitate LRDR sustainment efforts.

Company experts also will consider the potential scan loss that the terrain around Fairbanks, Alaska, imposes; the benefits and drawbacks of mechanical slewing in azimuth or azimuth-elevation; polarization selection and its potential effects on cost and sensitivity; resistance to electronic warfare (EW) jamming; opportunities to reduce power consumption; software and hardware reuse; and open-systems non-proprietary software architectures.

Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, is no stranger to long-range missile-defense radar systems. Since the Cold War era of the 1950s, Clear has been a site of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Site (BMEWS) and later the Precision Acquisition Vehicle Entry Phased Array Warning System (PAVE PAWS) and Solid State Phased Array Radar System (SSPARS) radar systems.

On this contract ASRC Construction will do the work in Anderson, Alaska, and should be finished by December 2021. For more information contact ASRC Construction online at http://asrcconstruction.com; Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems at www.lockheedmartin.com, or the Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District at www.poa.usace.army.mil.

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