Initial testing of a new a new missile defense radar is set to begin in April with “power up” with expectations that the system will achieve initial operational capability (IOC) in September, the head of U.S. Northern Command said on Tuesday.
The Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) program is “on track,” Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerk said during a media briefing. In September, VanHerk said he plans to visit Clear, Alaska where the LRDR is being installed to “see the radar in action.”
Lockheed Martin [LMT] is the prime contractor for LRDR, which is a year behind schedule due to impacts from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
VanHerk said that he has told the Missile Defense Agency, which is overseeing development of the radar, that his “number one requirement” is not to have “any slips in the delivery” of LRDR.
VanHerk also said that a service life extension project for the Ground-Based Interceptor is underway and involves taking the missile-killing rockets out of the ground to a through inspection that allows for “pieces” and “parts” to be replaced.
“We are updating some of the boosters to give us additional capability as well but the big thing we get out of that is reliability,” VanHerk said of the service life extension. These inspections “will give us a better indicator of future reliability and capability,” he said.