Customs and Border Protection P-3 Orion aircraft equipped with disc-shaped AN-APS-145 airborne early warning radar. Photo: CBP

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) this week issued a Request for Information  to industry for market research on new airborne early warning (AEW) radar for some of its P-3 surveillance aircraft typically flown in counter-drug, counter-terrorism and counter-human smuggling missions.

The Lockheed Martin [LMT]-built P-3s include the company’s AN/APS-145 AEW radar on some of CBP’s fleet of 14 aircraft. The remaining P-3’s are long-range tracker variants equipped with a short to medium-range radar to help identify and track targets detected by the P-3 AEW aircraft, and electro-optic and infrared sensors, and a marine search radar.

CBP said that the results of its market research will help it plan for a replacement AEW radar. The current radar provides continuous 360-degree coverage and detects suspect aircraft and surface vessels.

Some of the requirements mentioned in the RFI for the new AEW radar include being able to track over 2,000 targets simultaneously, an 80 percent probability of detection and tracking a small air target—one square meter or less—at ranges greater than 180 nautical miles and a large air target—greater than one square meter—at ranges of up to 300 nautical miles.

For small targets—one square meter—on  the sea surface, CBP wants a detection and tracking probability rate of 80 percent at 80 nautical miles when a vessel is dead in the water and 110 nautical miles when a vessel is moving at 10 knots or greater.