Update on TPY-2 X-Band Radars (March 24, 2013)

Raytheon announced last week that it had delivered the 8th TPY-2 X-band radar to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.[1]  This radar is now being used by the 3rd Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, which was activated late last year at Fort Bliss, Texas.[2]  The previous radar, #7, was delivered in 2010, however, funding issues subsequently led to an 18 month break in production.  A TPY-2 currently takes about 30 months to build.

In addition, Congressional appropriations conferees reportedly recently agreed on funding for an additional (second) TPY-2 in FY 2013.[3]

FTI-01Map

FTI-01, held on October 25 2012, involved two TPY-2 radars, one as a forward-based X-band radar and one as a THAAD fire control radar, located on different islands of the Kwajalein Atoll.  (Image source: Missile Defense Agency)

A TPY-2 radar can be configured either as a forward-based radar for detecting, tracking, and discriminating ballistic missile targets or as a fire control radar for a THAAD missile defense battery.   In principle, a radar can be switched between the two configurations in about eight hours.

Currently four TPY-2s are deployed as forward based radars, in northern Japan, Israel, Turkey and Qatar.  A fifth is planned for deployment in the near future to central Japan. The other three TPY-2s are deployed as THAAD radars at Fort Bliss, two with each of the first two THAAD batteries, which are operational, and one with the third battery, which is in training.

According to Raytheon, TPY-2s #9 and #10 are about halfway built and construction of TPY-2 #11 has just begun.[4]  These are intended for THAAD batteries four, five and six.

The FY 2012 MDA budget, released in February 2012, reduced the planned number of TPY-2 radars to eleven and the number of THAAD batteries to six, from fourteen and nine respectively.  Earlier, as many as many as eighteen TPY-2s and thirteen THAAD batteries had been planned.

The second TPY-2 radar for FY 2013 would thus be radar number twelve.  This purchase of this radar was described as necessary to prevent a temporary shutdown of the production line in FY 2014, despite foreign sales of four radars as part of THAAD batteries, two to the United Arab Emirates and two to Qatar.  It is unclear (to me) how this twelfth radar will be deployed.


[1] Raytheon Helps Missile Defense Agency Counter Ballistic Missiles with Delivery of 8th AN/TPY-2 radar,” News Release, Raytheon Company, March 2013.  Available at: http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=2297

[2] “Lawmakers Fund Second AN/TPY-2 Radar in FY-13 Appropriations Bill,” Inside Defense SITREP, March 20, 2013.

[3] “Lawmakers Fund Second AN/TPY-2.”

[4] “Lawmakers Fund Second AN/TPY-2.”

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