The Army News Service has reported on 19 June that the Army completed an almost three-month-long capabilities demonstration of prototype radars aimed at replacing the one currently used by Patriot missile units.
The “sense-off” at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, tested three different prototypes of the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS. The radars tracked simulated incoming missiles and live aircraft scenarios as experts observed their capabilities.
A board will convene to evaluate the data collected and the test results to select a single vendor for the LTAMDS contract by Sept. 30, said Terry Young, senior advisor to the director of the Air and Missile Defense Cross-Functional Team of Army Futures Command, Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson.
“We’re pleased with the conduct of the competition so far; many stellar Soldiers and civilians from varied organizations across our Army came together and worked very hard as a team to ensure a fair and thorough competition was conducted,” Young said. He made three trips out to White Sands this spring to observe each of the three vendors’ prototypes in action.
The plan is to field the new radar to the first Patriot battalion by the 4th quarter of fiscal year 2022, Young said. Eventually 15 battalions will be fielded by the end of FY 2031.
“The Patriot system has been around since the late ’70s,” he said, explaining that the radar system has been patched and updated continuously to keep pace with evolving threats over the last 40 years.
“Industry, technicians and our Patriot Soldiers have done wonders to keep the system updated to where it’s at today,” he said of the Patriot radar, but added that technology has grown by “leaps and bounds” over the past few years. “It’s time to get a new radar out there to keep up with the future fight,” he said.
With the proliferation of unmanned aerial systems and new technologies by near-peer nations such as China and Russia, U.S. air superiority on a future battlefield can no longer be taken for granted, Young said. This places increased importance on air and missile defense, he explained.