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Defense-spending bill includes more than $324M for Lockheed Martin radar-system project

SALINA, N.Y. — A federal defense-spending bill includes more than $324 million for a “key” U.S. Army radar system that is developed and manufactured at the Lockheed Martin plant in Salina.

Bethesda, Maryland–based Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) is a defense contractor.

The system — the AN/TPQ-53 radar — is a transportable radar mounted on the back of a truck that the Army uses to “detect and collect crucial information” on mortars, rockets, and artillery in any direction, the office of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) said in a news release issued Thursday.

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The spending bill that the U.S. Senate approved includes $160.6 million in regular Army funding, and an additional $164.0 in overseas contingency operations funding for the AN/TPQ-53.

The same measure “is expected to be passed by the [U.S. House of Representatives] in the coming weeks,” Schumer’s office said.

“This vital and significant federal investment enables the world-class workforce at Lockheed Martin to produce cutting-edge radar that protects our troops in the battlefield and also drives the Central New York economy. The inclusion of this funding in the just-passed bi-partisan defense appropriations bill will give Lockheed’s Salina plant the resources to continue moving these high-tech counterfire radars down the assembly line,” Schumer said in the news release. “I am proud of the role I played in securing this critical federal funding, and will always fight for investments that both keep good-paying jobs in Central New York and keep our military service members around the world safe.”

Lockheed Martin engineers at the Salina facility developed the AN/TPQ-53 radar system. The project, which Schumer’s office describes as a “major production program” at the plant, is a “more mobile counterfire radar system” when compared to previous models and detects, tracks, and determines the location of enemy indirect fire.

It allows U.S. forces to defend a 360-degree area from enemy mortars, rockets, and artillery.

The Army has “successfully” deployed the AN/TPQ-53 system in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2010.

To date, Lockheed Martin employees in Salina have “built and delivered” 105 systems to the Army, per Schumer’s news release.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

Eric Reinhardt / BJNN file photo

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