Home Air US Missile Defense Agency fields Long Range Discrimination Radar in Alaska

US Missile Defense Agency fields Long Range Discrimination Radar in Alaska

LRDR in Alaska
Photo: US Missile Defense Agency

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has completed military construction and installation of radar arrays for the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) in Alaska.

The agency hosted a ceremony declaring the initial fielding of the radar on December 6.

LRDR is a multi-mission, multi-face radar with a wide field of view. Its massive arrays, each measuring 60 feet high by 60 feet wide, and advanced gallium nitride technology make this radar more powerful, more capable, more persistent, and more reliable than currently available radars.

Once fully operational, LRDR will provide unparalleled ability to simultaneously search and track multiple small objects, including all classes of ballistic missiles, at very long ranges, under continuous operation.

Its discrimination capability will allow it to identify lethal objects, such as enemy warheads, and differentiate them from non-lethal decoys. This will increase the defensive capacity of the homeland defense interceptor inventory by conserving the number of ground-based interceptors required for threat engagement. Highly adaptable, LRDR will address hypersonic missiles in future configurations.

Photo: US Missile Defense Agency

“Today marks an extremely important milestone for US homeland defense,” said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill. “The Long Range Discrimination Radar has finished construction, and we can now begin the testing phase that will lead to the full operational use of this vital system. LRDR will allow Northern Command to better defend the United States from ballistic and hypersonic missile threats.”

The LRDR operates in S-band frequencies and features a scalable, open systems architecture designed to mitigate evolving threats. It is integrated into the Missile Defense System through the Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications element.

In addition to missile defense, the LRDR supports space domain awareness by monitoring satellites orbiting the earth, detecting, tracking, and identifying active or inactive satellites, spent rocket bodies, and fragmentation debris.

MDA said the radar can be scaled and extended to counter evolving threats without changing the hardware design.