The US Air Force’s Theater Battle Control Division that manages the Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar Rapid (3DELRR) program has awarded Lockheed Martin an $8.4 million contract to integrate the new ground-based radar as part of the program.
Program officials said the main intent of the integration effort is to develop, test and field interfaces allowing the radar system to transmit data to other command and control nodes.
3DELRR will be the air force’s principal ground-based sensor for long-range surveillance, detection and tracking of aerial targets in support of theater commanders and will replace the AN/TPS-75 currently in service.
The 3DELRR team selected Lockheed for integration after evaluating three commercially available, production-ready, and deployable long-range systems during a series of live-fly demonstrations this past September.
The service announced its decision on April 7 after awarding Lockheed, Northrop Grumman and Australia’s CEA Technologies $500,000 each for the 3DELRR rapid prototyping in May 2020.
“The 3DELRR team is using a middle tier acquisition approach (SpeedDealer) to rapidly procure and field long-range radar systems to the warfighter,” said Col. Michael Harm, the division’s senior materiel leader.
“SpeedDealer” is an acquisition strategy unveiled in January 2020, to take advantage of advances in technology to replace the TPS-75 radar with production-ready systems.
The team is currently evaluating other offers and could award a second integration contract in the coming months if an agreement can be reached that’s in the best interest of the air force, said Lt. Col. Matthew Judge, 3DELRR deputy program manager.
As no procurement funds are currently available, the potential of a second integration award would maintain competitive pressure through the next year until funds are available, the service said.
“If we do award another integration contract, while we intend to award production options to only one of the companies next year, our strategy allows us to award to multiple companies if that makes the most sense,” Judge said. “We are excited to be moving forward with providing the warfighter a radar to detect modern threats.”
The current contract includes production options for up to 35 long-range radar systems.
The 3DELRR program office at Hanscom Air Force Base expects the selected system or systems to be fully deployable by 2024.