South Korea – New Radars On Horizon

LIG Nex-1's Long Range Air Defence Surveillance Radar (ChainHomeHigh)
LIG Nex-1’s Long Range Air Defence Surveillance Radar (ChainHomeHigh)

South Korea will commence the induction of its new LIG Nex-1 Long Range Air Defence Surveillance Radar (LRADSR) into air force service from 2015, according to company sources speaking to ChainHomeHigh at the Seoul Aerospace and Defence Exhibition held in the South Korean capital between 29th October and 3rd November.

The LRADSR is an L-band (1.215-1.4 gigahertz) system which has a range of circa 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) and a ceiling of 100,000 feet (30,480 metres). This three-dimensional radar uses an Active Electronically Scanned Array antenna. The LRADSR is being procured to eventually replace the Lockheed Martin AN/FPS-117 L-band air surveillance radars which the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) currently uses. In terms of performance, the LRADSR has similar capabilities to the AN/FPS-117.

LIG Nex-1's Medium Range Air Defence Surveillance Radar (ChainHomeHigh)
LIG Nex-1’s Medium Range Air Defence Surveillance Radar (ChainHomeHigh)

Over the longer term, the ROKAF plans to induct LIGNex-1’s Medium Range Air Defence Surveillance Radar (MRADSR) into service which will have a shorter range of around 76nm (140km), and a 40,000ft (12,192m) ceiling. The MRADSR is an S-band (2.3-2.5/2.7-3.7ghz) radar. There is no word on when this radar may enter service nor on how many of the MRADSR and LRADSR the ROKAF may procure. As well as manufacturing the radar, LIG Nex-1 built the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogators for both systems.

These radars will join the Israel Aerospace Industries Elta Systems two EL/M-2080 Green Pine ballistic missile defence radars which have been undergoing testing in South Korea. The EL/M-2080 has a range of circa 270nm (500km), according to open source reports.

Philippines – New Radar Plans

The Philippines is continuing its upgrade and enhancement of radar air surveillance coverage across the archipelago.

On 20th September it was reported that the radar capabilities in the north of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines would be increased. The investment into radar is intended to enhance the coverage of the West Philippine Sea, along with the wider Pacific area.

There is no word yet on what the radar acquisition will consist of in terms of radar type, number to be acquired, budget and programme timelines. However, as reported in the January 2013 edition of ChainHomeHigh, the Philippines Air Force (PAF) has announced plans to acquire three ground-based air surveillance radars.

This news follows an announcement in March 2012 that the PAF would perform a wide-ranging modernisation to include the acquisition of six combat aircraft, twelve trainers, long-range maritime patrol aircraft and a single air defence radar.

The announcement regarding the new radar (made in December 2012) now seems to indicate that the quantity of air defence radars to be purchased has been increased to three.

Little is known regarding the ground surveillance radars which the PAF currently operate, although it is thought that the force has at its disposal possibly around 20 ITT Gilfillan (now ITT Exelis) AN/TPS-32 long-range surveillance systems. Only a single system based at Wallace Air Station, a former United States Air Force facility located on Luzon Island in the northern Philippines is thought to be continually at work. This radar is believed to provide surveillance of the northern approaches to the archipelago. The AN/TPS-32 has a range of 556km (300 nautical miles) and a 100,000 feet (30,500 metre) ceiling.

Based on the performance of the AN/TPS-32 it is possible that the PAF is seeking a long-range, high-altitude radar which can be integrated into the overall Philippine Air Defence Identification Zone which is commanded by the PAF Air Defence Alert Centre, controlled by the Air Defence Wing based in PampangaProvince in the south of Luzon island.

South Korea – AH-64E Radars Contracted

Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin’s Longbow LLC joint venture, responsible for the Longbow fire control radar which equips the Boeing/McDonnell Douglas AH-64D/E Apache attack helicopters has been awarded a contract worth $50 million (€31.3 million).

The contract, the news of which was announced on 12th September, covers the provision of six radars, spare parts and support to South Korea. The country is purchasing 26 AH-64E Apaches which are expected to be delivered from 2016, with deliveries concluding in 2018.

Taiwan: PAVE-ing The Way

Taiwan’s Raytheon AN/FPS-115 PAVE PAWS low-frequency air surveillance radar has been formally declared as operational, according to local press reports in late-January.

The radar is based at Loshan Mountain in Hsinchu Country, northern Taiwan. It has been the subject of long-running controversy on the island. For example, in November last year, the country’s Ministry of National Defence ruled out sharing information from the radar with the United States. The United States Air Force (USAF) operates five PAVE PAWS radars positioned at various locations around the continental United States to provide air surveillance for the detection of ballistic missile launches.

Taiwan purchased the AN/FPS-115 from the United States via a USAF purchase in February 2004, following a Notification to Congress for the sale of two PAVE PAWS radars for €1.4 billion ($1.8 billion). However only a single radar was subsequently purchased from Raytheon via the USAF in June 2005 at a cost of €583 million ($752 million). Following its installation at Loshan Mountain, testing of the radar commenced in November 2011.

The Taiwanese Government had planned to pursue the purchase of the second radar originally included in the Notification to Congress, although this was reported as abandoned in September 2012. That said, some open source reports have stated that the decision to abandon the purchase of this second system was actually made back in 2007.

The AN/FPS-115 radar has been the target of domestic criticism in Taiwan regarding its cost. As reported in ChainHomeHigh in October 2012, the total value of the radar’s procurement, installation and preparation for service has been quoted as €930 million ($1.2 billion). A report by the news agency AgenceFrancePresse has stated that Raytheon required an additional €105 million ($136 million) to complete the radar’s installation at the Loshan Mountain site; and for maintenance, repair and overhaul of the radar during its service life. This has taken the total price of the radar to around €1 billion ($1.4 billion).

The radar operates in the 420-450 megahertz range, has a range of 4,827-kilometres (2,506-nautical miles) and is designed to provide ballistic missile detection. Its location enables it to provide surveillance of the entire Korean Peninsula, along with coverage of the South China Sea. In addition, its gaze is sufficient to provide surveillance across much of China’s territory.

Its acquisition was a direct reaction to the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1995-1996. During the Crisis, the People’s Republic of China performed a series of missile tests in the Taiwan Strait. The move was largely seen as an attempt by Beijing to warn Taiwan’s government of President Lee Teng-Hui from pursuing further independence for the Island which China regards as an integral part of its territory. The Crisis also saw China perform a series of missile tests prior to Taiwan’s 1996 Presidential Election.

Local press reports note that the AN/FPS-115 was activated in time for North Korea’s controversial space rocket launch on 12th December 2012. Pyongyang announced that the launch had been performed to place a satellite into orbit.

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