Lockheed Martin [LMT] and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) have finished the critical design review (CDR) for the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), validating the radar is ready to move into the fabrication, demonstration, and test phase, the company said Thursday.

The CDR took place on Sept. 28 and is the second of three design reviews before the LRDR is scheduled to enter full-rate production in mid-2018. In April, the LRDR completed its preliminary design review and is scheduled for a final design review this month (Defense Daily, April 20).


Lockheed Martin said the review demonstrated LRDR compliance to all technical performance measures and requirements and that the hardware and software components have achieved Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 7 and Manufacturing Readiness Level 7.

The LRDR is an S-Band radar that uses gallium nitride (GaN) components and aims to help distinguish between ballistic missile threats and other objects like decoys. It is planned to eventually be 30 feet tall and the size of about four semi-truck trailers.

Lockheed Martin said it successfully working through “an aggressive schedule” to deliver the LRDR to the MDA site at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska by 2020.

 “I am extremely pleased with the progress the entire LRDR team has made in the two years since contract award. With the success of CDR, LRDR is on track for initial operating capability or IOC in 2020,” Chandra Marshall, Lockheed Martin LRDR program director, said in a statement.

“This team has achieved every milestone, including this CDR, on schedule since contract award in 2015,” she added.

Following completion of the CDR, the radar program started low-rate manufacturing in October. The company said it is preparing for full-rate production by using production hardware combined with prototype systems, tactical back-end processing equipment, and tactical software to demonstrate performance in an operational environment. This allowed it to achieve TRL 7.

The company also noted it conducted a Facilities Design Review for the design of the shelter that will enclose the LRDR equipment and radar antenna in October. Lockheed Martin plans to conduct a “full and open competition” to build the shelter in Alaska, with construction set to start in the first half of 2019.

Lockheed Martin said currently the the MDA LRDR team is preparing the Alaska site for radar system installation and checkout mobilization, building the Mission Control Facility, and starting the foundation of the LRDR equipment shelter.

MDA awarded Lockheed Martin a $784 million, nine-year contract to develop, construct, and test the LRDR in October 2015 (Defense Daily, Oct. 21, 2015).