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3-D long-range radar contract awarded

Senior Airman Joseph Fletcher and Airman 1st Class Christopher Kelly inspect a TPS-75 radar March 13, 2012, in Southwest Asia. The radar site contributes to the overall picture that the operators see inside an operations center. Fletcher and Kelly are radar maintenance technicians with the 71st Expeditionary Air Control Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon)

Senior Airman Joseph Fletcher and Airman 1st Class Christopher Kelly inspect a TPS-75 radar March 13, 2012, in Southwest Asia. The TPS-75 is being replaced by a new Three-Dimensional Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) system that will serve as the Air Force's primary long-range, ground-based sensor for detecting, identifying, tracking and reporting aerial targets. A contract was awarded to Raytheon for the engineering, development and manufacturing of the system, Oct. 6, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) -- The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's (LCMC) Theater Battle Control Division awarded a contract to the Raytheon Company for the service's next generation of long-range radars Oct. 6.

The $19.5 million fixed price incentive firm contract covers the engineering, manufacturing and development of three Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) systems. The full value of the contract could reach almost $72 million if all options are exercised. The system will serve as the service's primary long-range, ground-based sensor for detecting, identifying, tracking and reporting aerial targets - replacing the legacy TPS-75 system.

"Not only will 3DELRR improve our battlespace awareness but we believe this program exemplifies the principles established in our new strategic framework," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "Specifically, it was a pilot program to incorporate defense exportability features early in the design process to reduce per unit production and total life costs. The 3DELRR system will also incorporate an open systems architecture design, which permits the flexibility to make future upgrades."

The 3DELRR program office, an LCMC team based out of Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is the driving force responsible for the production and fielding of the new system.

Competition was limited to the three prime contractors who developed full-scale prototypes during the recently completed technology development phase: Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

Under the first agreement, there are priced options for defense exportability features designs, an 18-month low-rate initial production (LRIP) and three one-year options for interim contractor support. During the EMD phase, Raytheon will design and manufacture a total of three radars that will undergo contractor and government developmental testing and government operational testing. Three more radars will be built under the LRIP option, for a total of six, to achieve initial operational capability in 2020. A follow-on, full-rate production contract will deliver the remaining 29 systems.

"The new 3DELRR radar will be capable of detecting certain current and emerging threats that the TPS-75 is incapable of seeing," said Kevin Ray, pre-EMD phase chief engineer.

"In addition, the radar's improved system reliability will drive down operating and support costs and enhance the operational availability for the warfighter," Ray said.

Components of the new radar will include an antenna array, signal and data processors, rotating assembly, identification friend or foe system and various other subsystems.

Radar capabilities will include, but are not limited to, improved detection performance for newer targets, stronger clutter rejection, electronic protection, anti-radiation missile countermeasures and an open systems architecture design.

"Our team has worked hard with the Air Force and (Office of the Secretary of Defense) stakeholders to adjust to a constrained budget, incorporate lessons learned and innovate new ways to eliminate risks to ensure an affordable system that will serve our warfighters well for the long term," said Lt. Col. Kevin Sellers, the 3DELRR program manager.

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