Raytheon [RTN] delivered its 10th AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) six months ahead of schedule.

The AN/TPY-2 is an integral element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).  It is a mobile X-band radar that protects civilians and infrastructure in the United States, deployed warfighters, and allied nations and security partners, from the growing ballistic missile threat.

AN/TPY-2 is a high resolution, mobile, rapidly deployable X-band radar capable of providing long range acquisition, precision track, and discrimination of all classes of ballistic missiles.

The radar may be deployed globally in either terminal or forward-based mode. In the forward-based mode, the AN/TPY-2 cues the BMDS, by detecting, discriminating and tracking enemy ballistic missiles in the ascent phase of flight. In terminal mode, it serves as the fire control radar for the THAAD system.

U.S. intelligence agencies estimate there are more than 6,300 ballistic missiles not controlled by the U.S., NATO, China or Russia, with that number expected to reach almost 8,000 by 2020.

“The delivery of this tenth radar makes the world safer place because the AN/TPY-2 has an unmatched ability to detect, discriminate and precisely track every category of ballistic missiles,” said Raytheon’s Dave Gulla, vice president of Integrated Defense Systems’ Global Integrated Sensors business area. “The AN/TPY-2 has proven in numerous complex tests that it can help defend and defeat the evolving, improving and proliferating ballistic missile threat.”

The radar will be integrated into the U.S. Army’s fifth Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense battery, It will become the eyes and ears of the system by searching, detecting, tracking and discriminating threats, and guiding the intercepting missile.

Raytheon serves as one of MDA’s prime contractors for THAAD.

Raytheon is under contract to provide two additional AN/TPY-2 radars for MDA, and is building two radars for a U.S. ally in the Arabian Gulf region.

“The program calls for 12 radars for now,” Jim Bedingfield, Raytheon IDS business development, said. “It was originally 18, prior to some of the [DoD] budget cuts.” Nine were for THAAD and nine were for forward basing.

“So far, there will be a total of 12 radar systems, five forward-based mode radars–Israel, Turkey, a classified location in CENTCOM, one currently in Japan, and one radar which is currently being used as a test asset but will be deployed to Kyogamisaki, Japan in Forward Base mode before the end of the year (for a total of two in Japan),” Bedingfield said.

The seven remaining radars are or will be fielded with THAAD batteries. One of those THAAD batteries is currently deployed to Guam, he said “We’ve fielded four radars to THAAD units so far, he said. Three more are in production for THAAD units.”

As for what’s next, “We think that MDA will work with their U.S. Army and FMS customers to see how they might buy additional units in this budget environment,” Bedingfield said. “We’ve been working very closely with MDA to keep the line open…case in point is MDA is funding a float Antenna Equipment Unit in (the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2015), helping keep the line warm into ’15.”

The float idea is to have the antenna unit in the inventory, so it can be shipped to the field and keep a radar operational, he said. The replaced unit would be taken to the depot and upgraded, then that unit is shipped out and swapped for one in the field, and the process continues until the entire fleet is upgraded.

Also, the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) added $40 million in radar spares. “Should the final signed budget reflect the SAC mark/increase that also contributes to keeping the line warm in ’15.”

There’s also a $2.9 million line item in the fiscal year ’15 budget for an Electrical Equipment Unit upgrade kit in FY ’15, and going out to the five-year budget plan, there are funds set aside to pay for those upgrades through 2019, he said.

Additionally, Raytheon is working closely with MDA in looking at FMS opportunities.