U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

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Missile Defense Agency

MDA News Release

5700 18th Street, Bldg 245
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5573

LRDR Work Continues Through Covid-19 for Initial Fielding in 2021

February 24, 2021

The Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), currently undergoing radar installation at Clear Air Force Station (AFS), Alaska, is on track for delivery and Initial Operational Capability in 2021, having completed all major production activities as well as array panel and equipment installation in Clear, Alaska.

Initial fielding was delayed due to the interruption of construction and radar integration to reduce the threat of spread of COVID-19 in 2020. Military construction and radar integration were stopped in March 2020, when access to Clear AFS was limited to essential personnel. At that time, the Missile Defense Agency assumed a caretaker status posture, a non-operating condition in which no construction took place and only sustainment of critical systems occurred. A small number of people were required to support caretaker status to monitor alarms and ensure critical systems, such as heating and cooling systems are functioning properly. Military construction work resumed in May and radar integration resumed in July as Alaska began reopening to travelers from the lower 48 states. Despite the challenges, the Corps of Engineers in Alaska, the State of Alaska, the Missile Defense Agency and the many contractors involved in the construction of the LRDR have been working together towards achieving IOC by the end of this calendar year.

LRDR is designed to provide the warfighter advanced sensor capabilities supporting the range of requirements from missile warning, through tracking and discrimination, to space domain awareness. Once operational, LRDR will provide an unparalleled ability to simultaneously search, track and discriminate multiple small, baseball-sized objects, including all classes of ballistic and hypersonic missiles, at very long ranges, 24/7/365. LRDR combines proven solid-state radar technologies with proven ballistic missile defense algorithms, all based upon an open architecture platform capable of meeting future growth. What sets LRDR apart is a unique polarization approach to accurately identify threats in a dense operating space, massive arrays measuring a combined 60 feet high and 60 feet wide, and gallium nitride technology for a more powerful, more capable radar.

LRDR technology was designed to be:

• Adaptable for Future Threats: The radar can be scaled and extended to adapt to new threat sets, like hypersonic threats, without changing the hardware design.

• Efficient and Reliable: Scalable and modular gallium nitride based “subarray” radar building blocks provide advanced performance and increased efficiency and reliability.

• Able to Achieve Persistent Tracks and Discrimination: Its unique maintain-while-operate capability provides very high operational availability and enables continuous operation,

• Multi-mission capable: LRDR is a multi-mission, multi-face radar capable of conducting missile defense and space domain awareness (SDA) missions through a 220 degree wide field of view. LRDR tracks and discriminates multiple threats simultaneously, providing precision track and discrimination data to Missile Defense System (MDS) firing units such as the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) System. For SDA, LRDR can monitor satellites orbiting the earth, detecting, tracking, and identifying active/inactive satellites, spent rocket bodies, or fragmentation debris.

Once operational, LRDR will provide persistent long-range midcourse discrimination, precision tracking and hit assessment to support the Homeland Defense Capability against missile threats to the homeland and in the Pacific theater. For additional information and details on this important MDA project, go to LRDR Fact Sheet and Project Update