12 January 2018
Lockheed Martin demos next-gen Aegis Ashore Solution
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
Security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, MD, USA has connected key components of its Aegis Ashore and Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) technologies, validating the ability to greatly increase operational performance, efficiency and reliability of Aegis Ashore, the land-based ballistic missile defense adaptation of the proven Aegis Combat System (currently fielded in Romania and soon to be fielded in Poland).
“Connecting these systems is more than a technological advantage – it’s a way to provide the warfighter with earlier intelligence and expanded situational awareness,” says Dr Tony DeSimone, VP & chief engineer of Lockheed Martin Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors. “Integration of these technologies allows us to deliver the most advanced solid-state radar system in LRDR with the proven tested capability of Aegis… This combination provides an increased capability,” he adds.
Connecting the two mature systems amounts to a low-risk ‘technology refresh’ of the legacy SPY-1 antenna, resulting in:
- the ability to detect targets at longer distances;
- the ability to combat larger numbers of targets simultaneously;
- additional target engagement opportunities;
- higher performance in complicated land environments;
- minimized interference with civilian or military radio emitters and receivers; and
- increased use of the new SM-3 Block IIA missile’s performance.
Lockheed Martin Solid State Radar (SSR) is a scalable gallium nitride (GaN)-based radar building block that provides increased efficiency and reliability. As the Department of Defense’s newest Ballistic Missile Defense sensor, LRDR will use thousands of Lockheed Martin SSR building blocks to provide enhanced target acquisition, tracking and discrimination data to the US Ballistic Missile Defense System. LRDR completed its critical design review in 2017 and is on track to be operational in Alaska in 2020.
The R&D demonstration proved that current and future versions of Aegis can simultaneously command tasking of the Lockheed Martin SSR and receive target tracks from the radar. The next phase of activity is to demonstrate simulated missile engagements with live tracking, scheduled for first-half 2018. These tests build on multiple previous demonstrations in 2015 and 2016, in which Aegis software variant Baseline 9 already tracked live targets using a prototype version of Lockheed Martin SSR hardware powered by multi-purpose Fujitsu GaN from Japan.
The Aegis software has evolved over time and is now compatible with multiple radars. Recently, Australia and Spain selected Aegis configurations featuring their own solid-state radars. Weaving existing systems together is becoming more common to stay ahead of threats efficiently, by leveraging prior or concurrent investments in advanced technology.
“The Aegis Combat System is adaptable and flexible to address warfighting needs, which is one of the reasons the system is so widely used around the world,” says Michele Evans, VP & general manager of Lockheed Martin Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors. “As our customers look to update their technology with the help of their industrial bases, they are increasingly choosing alternative radars to equip their platforms,” he adds. “In challenging threat environments, we can deliver advanced capability at lower cost if we can be flexible and connect a variety of existing technologies.”
Lockheed Martin SSR, including very robust participation from Japanese industry, is one of the configuration options available to Japan for its upcoming Aegis Ashore installations. Because Lockheed Martin provides the Aegis Ashore software and SPY-1 radar, its SSR can operate in a way that uses a common Integrated Air and Missile Defense Aegis baseline with the one recently purchased by Japan's Ministry of Defense for its new destroyers.