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U.S. Army awards Lockheed Martin contract to extend radar range

By Eric Reinhardt


SALINA, N.Y. — The U.S. Army has awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) a contract modification to insert gallium nitride (GaN) into the AN/TPQ-53 (Q-53) radar as part of the production process.

Employees of the Salina plant of the Bethesda, Maryland–based defense contractor work on that radar contract. The company did not specify the dollar amount of the contract in its Monday news release.

Lockheed Martin calls the Q-53 is the “most modern radar in the U.S. Army inventory and has the flexible architecture to address aircraft, drone and other threats in the future.” The transition to GaN will provide the Q-53 with “additional power” for capabilities including “long-range counterfire target acquisition.” GaN has the “added benefit of increasing system reliability and reducing lifecycle-ownership costs.”

“Lockheed Martin is proud the Army is adding Q-53 to our family of fielded GaN based radars,” Rick Herodes, director of the Q-53 program at Lockheed Martin, said in the release. “This modification takes advantage of our broad experience with radar production and next generation radar-development experience coupled with Lockheed Martin’s continuous investment in GaN and other radar technologies. This update enables Q-53 mission growth for changing Army needs. We realize how critical it is to enhance the capabilities of the Q-53 so it can be responsive to the evolving operational demands and emerging threats our deployed troops face every day.”

The Q-53 has been in military use since 2010. Lockheed Martin currently produces multiple Q-53 radars annually. Work on the system is performed at Lockheed Martin facilities in New York, New Jersey, and Florida.

The primary mission of the multi-mission Q-53 is to protect troops in combat by detecting, classifying, tracking and identifying the location of enemy indirect fire in either 360 or 90-degree modes. Mounted on a five-ton truck, military members can rapidly deploy, level automatically, then remotely operate the Q-53 from a command vehicle with a laptop computer. The radar is software defined allowing for quick adjustment to address emerging Army capability needs for air surveillance and counter fire target acquisition.

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Photo credit: Lockheed Martin website

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