United States Of America – More AN/APY-10s For Poseidon

Raytheon has been tasked to build 14 AN/APY-10 airborne maritime surveillance radars for the US Navy’s new Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

The order, worth $48.8 million (€36.1 million), will include the supply of 13 radars, and one spare, to furnish the Lot-IV P-8A production run. The Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) P-8A Lot-IV contract was awarded to Boeing on 31st July and is worth $1.9 billion (€1.4 billion). These aircraft, and their accompanying radars, are expected to enter US Navy service by late 2016.

The radar is a direct descendent of Raytheon’s AN/APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar which equips the Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion aircraft which the P-8A will replace.

The AN/APY-10 uses an Active Electronically Scanned Array antenna to perform gather Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and inverse SAR imagery over land and water. Moreover, it can perform periscope detection for the anti-submarine mission.

Although no information appears to be publicly available regarding the particular specifications of the AN/APY-10, it is thought to be an X-band system, based on its AN/APS-137 lineage.

United States – APG-79 Contract

On 24th September, Raytheon was awarded a contract worth $39 million (€28 million) to supply 15 AN/APG-79 radars for US Navy Boeing F/A-18E/F combat aircraft for delivery by 2015.

Deliveries of the first low-rate initial production radar to Boeing for installation onboard the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet occurred in January 2005. This was followed in June 2005 with a contract worth $580 million (€444 million) for the delivery of 180 radars for installation on the Super Hornet over a five-year period.

In May 2013, a firm fixed-price delivery contract worth €6.5 million ($8.6 million) was awarded to Raytheon by the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Maryland for the supply of three AN/APG-79 radars.

The US Navy is upgrading its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets with Raytheon’s AN/APG-79. The upgrade will allow some of the legacy Raytheon AN/APG-73 radars outfitting early F/A-18E/F airframes to be cascaded down to other US Navy and Marine Corps Hornets which are still using the legacy Raytheon AN/APG-65 system.

The AN/APG-79 is essentially an AN/APG-65 radar family member with the additional of an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna.

No official details have been released by the AN/APG-79’s manufacturer regarding the radar’s performance and specification, although unofficial sources state that the AESA antenna has up to 1,100 transmit/receive modules, and a range of over 123 nautical miles (228 kilometres) for a ten square-metre (107.6 square feet) sized target.

United States – Northrop Grumman Wins ViSAR Work

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract worth $5.6 million (€4.1 million), as of 15th September, to perform work on the Video Synthetic Aperture Radar (ViSAR) programme orchestrated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The company will construct and test a prototype ViSAR radar as part of the initiative led by L3 Communications’ Electron Devices division.

L-3 was awarded a contract by DARPA worth $2.6 million (€1.9 million) in July to perform the ViSAR design and development programme.

The ViSAR initiative intends to develop a SAR radar which can perform target identification through cloud and other battlefield obscurants to enable United States Air Force AC-130H/U Spectre/Spooky-II fixed-wing gunships to engage targets in bad weather or dusty conditions. This would have the added advantage of enabling the gunship to use such conditions to mask the aircraft from ground-to-air fire.

Ultimately, the ViSAR sensor is intended to compensate for shortfalls in the performance of the infra-red sensors which AC-130s routinely carry which can be disrupted by obscurants in the atmosphere. Once developed, the ViSAR sensor could be housed on the aircraft in an external pod mounting.

United States – Space Fence Switches Off

After over fifty years of operation, the United States Air Force has de-activated its Space Fence space debris surveillance system.

Correctly referred to as the Air Force Space Surveillance System (AF3S), the decision to close down Space Fence has been controversial as it will be some time until a replacement system is operational. The new AF3S is tipped to commence work in circa 2017. This has led to concerns that military and civilian spacecraft operators may be bereft of information regarding possible threats to their satellites from orbiting space debris.

Both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are competing to construct the new Space Fence. This will use S-band radars to track up to 200,000 targets, including those as small as a tennis ball in size, at a range of up to 1,930 kilometres (1,042 nautical miles).

The value of the new Space Fence system contract is estimated at €3 billion ($4 billion). On 28th September 2012 the USAF revealed that the first radar will be constructed on KwajaleinIsland, part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Radar imagery from the Space Fence will be relayed to the United States Strategic Command’s Joint Function Component Command for Space at Vandenburg Air Force Base, California.

United States Of America – AN/TPQ-49 Purchase

The US Army has placed an order worth $221.8 million (€168.6 million) for the supply of up to 73 AN/TPQ-49 weapons-locating radars with SRC.

So far, the firm has delivered in excess of 500 AN/TPQ-49s to the force. The contract for the 73 radars, announced on 19th July, follows an earlier contract awarded in September 2012 worth $250 million (€190 million) to provide the maintenance and upgrade of the radar in US Army service.

The L-band AN/TPQ-49 has a detection range in the region of ten kilometres (five nautical miles), and has a point of origin accuracy of 75 metres (246 feet) at five kilometres. The radar covers 360° in azimuth and 0-30° elevation. The entire AN/TPQ-49 systems weight is 68 kilograms (149 lbs).

United States: ViSAR Award

L-3 Electron Devices has been awarded a contract by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) worth $2.6 million (€1.9 million) to undertake the Video Synthetic Aperture Radar (ViSAR) design and development programme.

The ViSAR initiative intends to develop a SAR radar which can perform target identification through cloud and other battlefield obscurants to enable United States Air Force AC-130H/U Spectre/Spooky-II fixed-wing gunships to

AC-130U (US DoD)
AC-130U (US DoD)

engage targets in bad weather or dusty conditions. This would have the added advantage of enabling the gunship to use such conditions to mask the aircraft from ground-to-air fire.

As part of the contract L-3 will construct and test the radar, and then integrate it onto an AC-130 airframe for additional testing. Ultimately, the ViSAR sensor is intended to compensate for shortfalls in the performance of the infra-red sensors which AC-130s routinely carry which can be disrupted by obscurants in the atmosphere. Once developed, the ViSAR sensor could be housed on the aircraft in an external pod mounting.

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