Air Force asks Lockheed Martin to build another three gallium nitride (GaN)-based air-defense radar systems

Jan. 22, 2024
3DELRR is to be the principal Air Force long-range, ground-based radar to detect, identify, track, and report enemy missiles, aircraft, and UAVs.

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – U.S. Air Force tactical radar experts needed an air-defense radar system intended to detect, identify and track enemy missiles as well as manned and unmanned aircraft. They found their solution from the Lockheed Martin Corp. Rotary and Mission Systems segment in Liverpool, N.Y.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., announced a $65.1 million order to Lockheed Martin on Thursday to build three AN/TPY-4 Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) systems.

Lockheed Martin will build and deliver three 3DELRR radars, as well as production management and supporting tasks. Lockheed Martin won a $75 million order in April 2022 to deliver the initial two 3DELRR radars, and another $84.9 million order for four 3DELRR systems in January 2023. This week's order brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $260.6 million.

The 3DELRR radar is to replace the Air Force's Northrop Grumman AN/TPS-75 transportable 3-D passive electronically scanned array air search radar for enabling U.S. and allied invasion forces to protect themselves from airborne threats after establishing beachheads.

Related: Lockheed Martin to build gallium nitride (GaN)-based shipboard radar for Spanish Bonifaz-class frigate

3DELRR is to be the principal Air Force long-range, ground-based sensor for detecting, identifying, tracking, and reporting aerial targets for the Joint Force Air Component Commander through the Theater Air Control System, Air Force officials say.

The 3DELRR system is designed to deal with regional and near-peer conflicts of the future that could involve large numbers of enemy advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and ballistic and cruise missiles, Raytheon officials say.

3DELRR is designed to detect, identify, and track objects at great distances. C-band is a relatively uncongested portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The radar is interoperable with coalition systems and meet the requirements of many foreign militaries.

The 3DELRR system is similar to the Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) that Northrop Grumman is building the for U.S. Marine Corps. G/ATOR is being developed to protect Marine Corps expeditionary forces from rockets, artillery, mortars, cruise missiles, UAVs, and other low observables. It is a deployable short-to-medium-range multi-role radar system. 3DELRR, on the other hand, is designed to detect and track threats at longer ranges.

Related: Northrop Grumman pushes ahead to convert Marine Corps G/ATOR radar to gallium nitride GaN) to enhance SWaP

Like 3DELRR, the G/ATOR is based on gallium nitride (GaN) technology, yet the G/ATOR system is designed to handle air surveillance, weapon cueing, counter-fire target acquisition, and air traffic control for Marine Corps warfighters operating in invasion beaches.

The 3DELRR will provide the Air Force control and reporting center with real-time data to display air activity, and will provide warning and target information.

The system also will provide operators with a precise, real-time air picture to provide air traffic control services to individual aircraft across a wide range of environmental and operational conditions.

Related: Raytheon to provide hardware for AN/SPY-6(V) radar aboard late-model Burke-class destroyer surface warships

Raytheon Technologies Corp. initially won the 3DELRR contract in 2014, but industry protests held up its initial development. Even before its initial award to Raytheon, the 3DELRR program was in hot contention among three of the nation's most prominent radar houses: Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin.

Air Force leaders opted to recompete the 3DELRR radar program in 2020 because of technical and supplier challenges. Raytheon and Northrop Grumman still may share in some 3DELRR development.

On this contract modification Lockheed Martin will do the work in Liverpool, N.Y., and should be finished by January 2026. For more information contact Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems online at, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

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