Lockheed Martin has announced that it has recently demonstrated the ability of its AN/TPQ-53 counterfire radar to identify and track unmanned aerial systems and pass that information to a command and control node, a key capability as the battlespace rapidly becomes more crowded with emerging air threats.
“The demonstration showed that the Q-53 radar can provide soldiers in combat real time awareness of air threats,” said Rick Herodes, Q-53 program director, Lockheed Martin. “The inherent flexibility of the Q-53’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) hardware architecture allows us to constantly evolve the Q-53’s software to deal with emerging threats. This demonstration provided further verification that the Q-53 enables the warfighter to stay ahead of changing global threats.”
The demonstration was part of the U.S. Army’s Maneuver and Fires Integration Experiment (MFIX) at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The annual MFIX exercise brings together military, industry and academia to assess solutions to future warfighting needs in a live environment.
In the demonstration, the Q-53 radar showed it can be readily adapted to provide both air surveillance and counter fire target acquisition in one tactical sensor. The radar identified and tracked several unmanned aerial systems and provided data to Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control. Simultaneously, the Q-53 radar performed its original mission by providing accurate targeting data on rockets, artillery and mortars, providing a multimission radar (MMR) capability.
The solid-state phased array radar system detects, classifies, tracks and determines the location of enemy indirect fire in either 360- or 90-degree modes.
Lockheed Martin is manufacturing multiple Q-53 radars per month. Since Lockheed Martin won the development contract for the Q-53 radar in 2007, the company has won five additional contracts for a total of more than 100 radars and delivered more than 60 systems to the U.S. Army. The Army is expected to award a full-rate production contract this year bringing the system total to more than 170.