Raytheon [RTN] has just delivered an eighth mobile X-band Army Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance system (AN/TPY-2) radar to the U.S. government, on the heels of a Defense Department announcement Friday that it plans to put a second AN/TPY-2 radar at a site in Japan in light of increased threats from North Korea.

The government could use a new or existing radar for that second site.

The United States already uses the high-resolution AN/TPY-2 radars in forward-based mode that uses search fences and mission profiles to look for known or suspected ballistic missiles in the ascent flight phase, Jim Bedingfield, director, Missile Defense & Space Programs, Global Integrated Sensors at Raytheon, told Defense Daily Friday.

There is a TPY-2 radar in Shariki, in northern Japan, while others are based in Israel, Turkey, and one in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Work has begun on a second anti-ballistic missile radar site in Japan, revealed in September by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during a visit there.

The second radar will improve the ability to defend Japan, forward-deployed U.S. forces and protect the U.S. homeland from North Korean ballistic missile threat, and is one of several measures outlined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA)-developed radar provides early warning, detection and tracking of ballistic missiles. Track information is transmitted to other Ballistic Missile Defense System sensors and weapon systems via the Command, Control Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system to ease prosecution of threats.

After a missile is launched, the radar can predict impact point, and as the missile moves along its trajectory, can notify the C2BMC system with a high degree of fidelity can discriminate between threats and non threats what the lethal object is, he said. 

Additionally, Raytheon’s AN/TPY-2 radar delivery to MDA is slated to become part of the third Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery. Used in its terminal mode, it will search, acquire, track and provide a fire control solution as the fire control radar for the THAAD system. Key for the system is the ability to find the lethal object, Bedingfield said.

“If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it,” and the AN/TPY-2 radar’s high-speed ability to sort through data to find the lethal object is vital in an environment the numbers of threats and their complexity are increasing, he said.

MDA continues to see increasing theater threat capabilities and ballistic missile force levels in countries outside the United States, China, Russia and NATO.

Over the past two years, the president’s budget has reduced the total program buy from 18 TPY-2 radars to 11.

The initial buy, out to FY 2016, would be split as nine forward based radars, and nine terminal radars for THAAD batteries.

The reduction to 11 radars–split as five forward-based radars and six terminal THAAD radars–left a gap of four forward-based radars and three THAAD battery radars.

As of the president’s budget for FY ’13, $163 million has been added for another radar, supported by the authorization and appropriation committees.

There’s recognition from Congress that the threat is increasing and that it is important to support the industrial base, Bedingfield said.

“In a time of austere budgets it’s more important than ever” for industry and the government to work together “to progress and stretch the radar’s capabilities and technologies to meet or exceed the threat,” he said.

To date, Raytheon has delivered eight AN/TPY-2 radars; three are in production.