The company is the manufacturer of the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS, which will replace the service’s original Patriot air and missile defense radar with the ability to defeat ballistic missiles and other complex threats from all directions .
In the test, LTAMDS detected and tracked a surrogate cruise missile flying on a representative threat path and relayed data to Integrated combat command system developed by Northrop Grumman, the brains of the military’s air and missile defense architecture, Raytheon said in a statement Monday. IBCS directed a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile to launch and LTAMDS guided the missile to intercept the target, according to the company.
The test will lead to LTAMDS achieving operational capability by the end of the year, Raytheon said.
The army awarded a contract to Raytheon four years ago to build the new radar. The contract calls for the company to deliver six of the systems.
“Seeing LTAMDS come to life is not only gratifying for the many experts who designed and developed it, but reaffirms the commitment we’ve made to deliver this outstanding radar to air defense defenders around the world,” said Tom Laliberty, president of ground and air company. defense systems, the statement said.
All six radars under contract have been built, according to Raytheon, and are all being tested simultaneously at both US government and company test stations.
Testing will continue into 2024, including environmental and mobility certification, among other test events, and will lead to “full operational capability within the calendar year,” the statement said.
The army had to split LTAMDS development testing into two phases. The radar has three arrays. one main and two in the rear that give it the ability to see threats from 360 degrees.
“Last year when I first came on board, through some systems engineering reviews, we realized that trying to do all 360 degrees of tracking was too much to take on right away,” said Brig. Gen. Frank Lozano, the executive officer of the Army’s missile and space program, told Defense News in an interview earlier in 2023.
As a result, the first year of testing will focus on the main array, and the second year, in 2024, will be devoted to testing full-sector capabilities, integrating the two rear arrays, Lozano said. In addition to integration challenges, the program also faced supply chain delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The phased approach addresses a congressional order requiring the Army to field a four-sensor LTAMDS battalion by December 2023.
The first unit to be equipped will receive a ‘residual combat capability’ that already exceeds the legacy radar capability,” Lozano said.
The plan now is to conduct an operational evaluation in the first quarter of fiscal year 2025 which will lead to an Engineering and Manufacturing Development decision in FY25, according to Lozano.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist who covers land warfare for Defense News. He has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.
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