Air Force asks Lockheed Martin to build four gallium nitride (GaN)-based 3DELRR air-defense radar systems

July 8, 2024
3DELRR is designed to detect, identify, and track objects at great distances. The radar is interoperable with coalition systems and meet the requirements of many foreign militaries.

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – U.S. Air Force tactical radar experts are asking Lockheed Martin Corp. to build four air-defense radar systems to detect, identify and track enemy missiles as well as manned and unmanned aircraft.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., announced a $81.3 million order to the Lockheed Martin Corp. Rotary and Mission Systems segment in Liverpool, N.Y., for four AN/TPY-4 Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) systems.

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.

3DELRR is 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.

Related: Marines order four more gallium nitride (GaN)-based G/ATOR radar systems to counter low-observable threats

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.

3DELRR is designed to detect, identify, and track objects at great distances. 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: Lockheed Martin to build gallium nitride (GaN)-based shipboard radar for Spanish Bonifaz-class frigate

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. 

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-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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