New S-Band Missile Defense Radars in the Pacific (February 11 2018)

The United States is in the process of building (or selling) a number of new missile defense radars focused on coverage over eastern Asia and the Pacific Ocean.  All of these radars will operate in S-Band, which extend from 2 to 4 GHz.  These radars are the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), the Homeland Defense Radar – Hawaii (HDR-H), the Homeland Defense Radar – Pacific (HDR-P), and the Lockheed Martin Solid State Radars (SSRs) that Japan intends to buy for its two planned Aegis Ashore facilities. Most if not all of these phased-array radars will be built by Lockheed Martin using relatively new Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology.  There is little publicly available information about these radars, so there will not be much in the way of technical details in this post.  This post will also include an update on Raytheon’s new S-Band Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR).

The Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR)

A previous post discusses the LRDR up until April 2015.  This discussion picks up where that one left off.

In October 2015, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded Lockheed Martin a $784 million contract to develop, test and build the LRDR.[1]  The objective was to have the LRDR operational at Clear Air Force Station in central Alaska by 2020.  Military construction costs (including a shielded mission control facility, shielded power plant, radar foundation and a maintenance facility) will add another $329 million, bringing the total cost of building the LRDR to over $1.1 billion.[2]  However, it is typically described in the press as a $1.2 billion project.  Construction of the LRDR in Alaska began in September 2017.[3] As of March 2018, “initial fielding” of the LRDR was expected in 2020 with “operational readiness acceptance by the warfighter in the 2022 timeframe.”[4]