The lead official for the Army’s team to find a new missile defense radar said a 360-degree sensor will not be required for companies moving forward in the competition, but emphasized a need to meet increased battlespace criteria and advanced network integration capabilities.

Brig. Gen. Randall McIntire, director of the Air and Missile Defense cross functional team, told reporters the Army’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensors (LTAMDS) program to replace the Patriot missile defense system’s radar will prioritize range and accuracy, while while taking steps towards offering capabilities for identifying threats in all directions.

Patriot air and missile defense system.
Patriot air and missile defense system.

“I would tell you that, first of all, 360-degrees is not a threshold requirement. Increased battlespace is of interest to us, obviously. What is important, range and accuracy,” McIntire said at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in Washington, D.C.

Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Raytheon [RTN] confirmed Monday they have been downselected to move into the technology maturation and risk reduction phase for LTAMDS (Defense Daily, October 9).

The legacy Patriot system is built by Raytheon, and LTAMDS seeks to replace its current MPQ-65 radar.

“Getting a radar that gives you the maximum benefit and effect from our newer missiles is certainly where we want to go,” McIntire told reporters.

McIntire said the Army would not limit itself with radar options by looking solely for 360-degree capable radars, but would take steps to find a system that meets an increased battlespace and works towards addressing threats coming from any direction.

Congress has previously included language in defense authorization legislation calling on the Army to find a 360-degree radar capability by 2025.

Brig. Gen. Robert Rasch, program executive officer for Missiles and Space, told reporters a key capability for LTAMDS will be the ability to seamlessly integrate with the Army’s air and missile defense network.

“Both of those two vendors really put best foot forward to really focus on the critical technologies and the scalability and the manufacture ability of those technologies to meet the full LTAMDS requirements,” Rasch said.

Specifically, Rasch wants to see how the new Patriot radar would fit in with the Army’s future Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System currently being developed by Northrop Grumman [NOC].

“The Army has asked us to go faster, and Congress has asked us to go faster. And so we’re looking at opportunities to meet the Congressional intent of having a capability out sooner than the program of record,” Rasch said.