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Lockheed to build long-range Air Force radar


U.S. Air Force air-surveillance experts are asking Lockheed Martin Corp. to build and install a longrange gap-filler radar system at Hanscom Air Force base, Mass., northwest of Boston.

Gap-filler radar supplements the coverage of the principal air-defense, air surveillance, and air-traffic-control radar systems in areas where coverage is inadequate. Hanscom Air Force Base maintains a public airport at the installation that provides commercial air service, as well as handles business jet and military air traffic.

Lockheed Martin will provide two long-range radars, and three upgrades to existing long-range radars, and integrate new and upgraded radar into the overall command, control and communications system, Air Force officials say.

Lockheed Martin relies primarily on the company’s TPS-77 multi-role radar system for gap-filler applications. The Lockheed Martin TPS-77 long-range transportable radar has radar signal-processing algorithms that optimize the system to detect low-flying aircraft near wind turbine farms, which are notorious for creating radar clutter.

 AN/TPS-77 is an L-band, phased array, all-solid-state radar with a planar array antenna that rotates to provide 360 degree azimuth coverage. As the antenna rotates, the radar transmits pencil beams that are electronically phase scanned to provide elevation coverage.

The 3-D radar can provide data on targets at ranges as far away as 250 nautical miles and elevations as high as 100,000 feet. Instead of using one transmitter, the AN/TPS-77 uses 34 all solid-state transmitters and receivers that are located on the antenna array.

This architecture eliminates high power rotary joints and central transmitters — two common single points of failure in most long-range radars, Lockheed Martin officials say.

On this contract Lockheed Martin will do the work at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., and should be finished by April 2018. For more information contact Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems online at, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at

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