Home » Budget Industry » Japan Selects Lockheed Martin to Supply Radar for Aegis Ashore System


Japan Selects Lockheed Martin to Supply Radar for Aegis Ashore System

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Complex in Devesulu, Romania. MDA Photo

The Japanese government has selected Lockheed Martin to outfit its defense forces with Aegis Ashore equipment worth an estimated $2.34 billion, according to media reports.

The selection of Lockheed Martin was announced Monday by Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s Minister of Defense, and was first reported by Reuters. The radar system will increase Japan’s ability to defend against missiles launched toward the nation, Onodera told reporters.

The deal includes the purchase of two Aegis Ashore radars, which will cost about $1.17 billion each. Maintenance and other operational costs at the two Aegis Ashore sites are estimated to bring the entire project cost up to $4.2 billion over the course of 30 years, according to media reports.

The first site could go online as soon as 2023, USNI News understands.

Acknowledging the announcement was made by Japan’s government, Lockheed Martin officials were quick to point out the deal is not official yet, and because part of the award falls under the Foreign Military Sales program, run by U.S. Department of State, the contract still requires U.S. congressional approval.

“Lockheed Martin stands ready to support the Japan Ministry of Defense and the United States in delivering our solid-state radar solution, which will greatly increase the operational performance, efficiency and reliability of the two Aegis Ashore Japan installations. For the past 25 years, Lockheed Martin has partnered with Japan on Aegis to fulfill their missile defense mission, and we look forward to continuing to support the nation’s security with Aegis Ashore,” read a statement Lockheed Martin provided to USNI News on Monday.

Japan was reportedly considering buying either the Raytheon-built AN/SPY-6(V) radar or the Lockheed Martin-built Long Range Discrimination Radar, according to media accounts. The reaction by Japan’s media was critical of the deal, with editorials expressing concerns with the technology rumored to have been selected and whether this deal is something the nation needs.

If Japan has selected the Lockheed Martin-manufactured Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) to support its Aegis Ashore program, then the nation, “has chosen expected economy over ease of integration and demonstrated operational capability,” Lt. Gen. Dan Leaf (ret.), former U.S. Pacific Command deputy commander, wrote in an opinion piece for the Japan Times.

Future U.S. Navy ships, including new guided-missile destroyers, will be outfitted with the AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar. Leaf states the choice of an LRDR instead of the AN/SPY-6(V) could cause problems integrating Japan’s Aegis Ashore system with what the U.S. Navy will be using.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    File this one under: “Goes without saying”

  • Duane

    Seems to be some confusion (intentional on the part of the loser in the competition) in the critical commentary quoted. LM produces AEGIS, the combat information management system, and LM also produces a radar system, acting as primary sensor, called “LRDR”. LRDR competes with Raytheon’s radar sensor to be installed on the DDG51 Flight IIIs, the former AN SPY-6 now renamed “AMDR”.

    The concern expressed by critics over integration of this system with US seaborne BMD systems is misdirected, as it is the AEGIS system that does the integrating of sensor data, not the radar, which is just the on-station sensor, one of many that can contribute data to AEGIS
    (such as from AEGIS equipped ships and from aircraft like the F-35).

    It does not matter to AEGIS where the sensor data come from if they are good data. How well LRDR stacks up with AMDR as a long range discriminating missile defense radar is certainly a worthy comparison to make.

    • Curtis Conway

      On this we are in agreement. Let the Japanese pay for the first installations and test.

      • Duane

        I believe that LRDR is a US program of record for the Mid Course Interceptor BMD system, and therefore is a US investment. It is not operational yet, but then neither is AMDR (scheduled to go IOC in 2023, likely to coincide with commissioning of the first Flight III AB). LRDR is supposed to go IOC in 2020.

        It is important that the “discrimination” be very good in either radar … that is what is supposed to help the system and its operator discriminate between actual warheads and decoys as the reentry vehicles travel through space and eventually on terminal phase.

        • Curtis Conway

          Right again. The help from the Japanese is appreciated.

          • Let’s get one thing straight – LRDR has no capacity to steer a missile of any sort. It is a long range sensor that reports to C2BMC – end of story.

        • Curtis Conway

          The LRDR lost to AMDR for the DDG-51 Flt III Radar.

          • Duane

            Yes, that is true. But the reasons may have to do with factors other than raw radar performance … I don’t know. Perhaps the Navy believed that AMDR would be easier to integrate in a shipboard environment due to factors like size, weight, power requirements, cooling requirements, etc. All of that proved to be a big challenge to integrate in the hull form of the DDG 51. Or perhaps the Navy just wanted to stick with their old vendor for the SPY-1s on the ABs based on prior performance and comfort with the vendor. Those both would be good reasons for the Navy to select AMDR over LRDR.

            But none of those factors, if they were determinative for the Navy, would have been determinative for either MDA or the Japanese for a land based missile defense system.

            As long as the radar performance meets requirements, and as long as AEGIS and LRDR are properly integrated together by LM, and the price is competitive, then no harm, no foul.

          • Graeme Rymill

            “perhaps the Navy just wanted to stick with their old vendor for the
            SPY-1s on the ABs based on prior performance and comfort with the
            vendor.”

            SPY-1 is a Lockheed Martin product. Therefore the Navy in selecting the SPY-6 from Raytheon is changing radar vendor for the Flight III Arleigh Burke class. Both AEGIS and SPY-1 were developed by RCA in the early 1970s. Many takeovers and mergers later RCA has been subsumed into Lockeed Martin.

          • Duane

            OK, then comfort with Raytheon based on decades of supplying radars to the Navy more generally. Raytheon was the largest producer of radars in WW2.

          • Graeme Rymill

            Nice recovery! 🙂

          • USNVO

            True, but LRDR won over the Raytheon proposal for the ABM radar at Clear, Alaska. I don’t have any insight, but the SPY-6 could have been selected as easier to integrate with the ship as opposed to being a better radar. In fact, since one was ABM specific (Clear, Alaska LRDR) and one was multipurpose (DDG51 BlkIII SPY-6), you could argue it shows that the LRDR is better for space, what the Japanese want. Since none of the Japanaese ships have SPY-6 there is no commonality issues and space, power, size, etc. is not an issue being on land, they may have picked the better radar for the mission. It is not like the LRDR doesn’t use the same type of transmitters (the are both S band GN AESA radars), won’t be updated with the same processing algorithms (they are both open architecture for that specific reason), they both provide the same data, and they both serve the same role for the MDA.

          • Curtis Conway

            I strongly suspect that the support equipment, and multiple-variable number of Radar Module Assembly(s) . . (RMAs) strongly influenced the decision. Remarks in a recent admiral’s speech seemed to second that sentiment. Radar for the fleet is about to move into an entirely new era. Now if we can just keep the info networks up we will be ok. At least we will see it coming.

    • Graeme Rymill

      Conventional wisdom has it that systems integration is problematic for new weapon systems and sensors. You seem to be suggesting that AEGIS is almost plug ‘n play when it comes to new sensors. I wonder if this perceived ease of integration for AEGIS is really the case. For example “Integrating AMDR with Aegis has presented the USN with ‘lots of
      challenges’, Captain Casey Moton, programme manager for guided-missile
      destroyer (DDG) 51 ships, said on 10 April [2018] during a Naval Sea Systems
      Command (NAVSEA) briefing at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space exposition in
      National Harbor, Maryland.”

      • RunningBear

        “lots of challenges” ….or Raytheon vs. LM??
        🙂

        • USNVO

          And are they shipboard problems or AEGIS/SPY-6 issues? The areas we have heard most about are cooling and power, neither of which effects AEGIS/SPY-6 integration but rather SPY-6 shipboard integration. Most of the time, when the program manager speaks, AEGIS means DDG51. The program manager speaking in the quote is the DDG51 guy, may be talking about other, shipboard issues, and not the AEGIS/SPY-6 interface. Hard to tell from the quote.

      • Duane

        Actually, yes, with the development of NIFCCA our combat data management systems including both AEGIS and COMBATTS-21 are being updated to handle sensor data from any capable source, but no, it is not “plug’n play”. Integration is still required.

        LM, as the developer and supplier of AEGIS, is certainly better qualified to integrate their own radar into their own AEGIS than any other supplier.

    • Einfach Mensch

      I don’t believe it was ever true that “LRDR competes with Raytheon’s radar sensor to be installed on the DDG51 Flight IIIs”. Perhaps LM’s proposed solution for AMDR has been recycled as LRDR but I question whether it was LRDR during the competition. Also, Raytheon won that competition and was awarded the development contract. Nothing is competing with AMDR for DDG-51 Flight III now.

      Radar integration is a critical issue for Aegis Ashore. The Aegis Weapon System (AWS) controls how and when the radar performs a number of critical functions. The interface between the radar and Aegis Weapon System is two-way, complex, and highly dynamic; it is significantly more that simply supplying data. LM should be well positioned to integrate LRDR and the AEGIS Weapon System, but there is significant new work to be done and that means significant engineering and testing costs. Also, there is radar functionality required for Aegis Ashore that would not logically be part of a discrimination radar, and those radar modifications have engineering and testing costs.

      If Japan buys the AWS (less the cost of either a SPY-1 or AMDR/SPY-6) as a Foreign Military Sales case, it will be difficult to argue that the cost of radar integration should go with the AWS. Since it is Japan who is causing the integration requirement by their configuration choice, the cost of integration and testing logically goes with the cost of the LRDR. If Japan procures LRDR via Direct Commercial Sales, they will have primary responsibility for resourcing and managing the integration. The same may also be true for the costs of new operator and maintenance training and spares. Hopefully, MDA and Navy will recognize the major integration, cost, and reputation risk as well as management issues associated with the direction this effort is taking, and will protect the US Government from the likely tar pit ahead.

      • Curtis Conway

        Like I said…

        The LRDR was considered, but I am not aware of any hardware development specifically in that direction, but the program has never gone cold. The technology represents a huge benefit for target recognition/discrimination. I do hope we see a smaller unit, or spaced based unit, in the future.

        • Actually it was a scaleable AESA. It had to live with the power, size and weight constraints of the Flight III Burkes. LRDR is much, much larger. Then again you can do that on a land based installation. Let’s just hope that the Japanese figure out that they don’t need a WSN-7 for a shore based site.

  • BBMW

    Are they using the SPY-1. If so, I’m a little surprised. I would think they’d go with an SPY-6 derivative. The SPY-1 is getting a little long in the tooth.

    • Duane

      SPY 6 was the other candidate, or “AMDR” as it is now called.

      • USNVO

        Other way around. AMDR was the program name and predated the radar designation, AN/SPY-6 is the name given the winning radar of the AMDR competition. But the terms are used interchangeably. LMs LRDR also has or will have an AN designation as well but I have never seen it.

  • Graeme Rymill

    A Reuters news item dated 29 June 2018 [ “Exclusive: Japan to buy advanced U.S. radar for missile defense system”] stated “Japan had sought the SPY-6 when it agreed to buy Aegis Ashore last year, but Washington was reluctant to supply it”. SPY-6 may be like the F-22: advanced technology too important to be shared even with trusted allies.

    • Duane

      If LRDR is good enough for defense of American cities and critical domestic defense assets from ICBM attack – which is what the MDA’s Mid Course Intercept is for – then it is hard to believe that this is not a top shelf program.

      And besides that, the F-35 is far more advanced than the F-22 and we are selling it to many of our allies.

    • USNVO

      Since the LRDR won the competition for the Clear, Alaska AMD radar over a version of the SPY-6 and will use the same techniques, if not the exact same algorithms which is more likely, for target discrimination, I doubt there is an issue with with the SPY-6. It may be a supplier delivery issue since components of the SPY-6 is being used on the DDG51 BlkIII as well as a lot of other ships (Nimitz class, Ford class, LHA/LHD, etc). So LM and its suppliers may be able to meet the requirements quicker. 2 + 2 may equal 4, but it is not the only addition problem that does.

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    This is very surprising to me. A family member is a noted radar expert, particularly familiar with this subject matter, and I have been explained by several sources that everyone but LM believe Raytheon to have the best radar technology and ability. However, LM has gotten to the point they’re almost another branch of the Pentagon it seems. I can’t see how that is good. I know a certain Grand Admiral will of course disagree, and yet the fact remains.

    • Duane

      “Better” is not something that can be defined generically, across all applications. AMDR may very well be the better radar for the DDG51 Flight IIIs while LRDR may be the better radar for land based missile defense systems, for a host of technical reasons. Or not – we will never know. Both vendors claim superiority over their competitor’s product, and ditto with their respective supporters and critics.

      I think that we are well served when we have serious head to head competition that allows source selection teams to have a real choice.

    • USNVO

      Raytheon certainly has numerous victories but also lost other competitions. And not just to LM, NG is also a major player in the field. Certainly Raytheon hasn’t won any awards for its efforts to fix the issues with the APG-79.

  • RunningBear

    “If Japan ..selected the Lockheed Martin-manufactured Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) to support its Aegis Ashore program, ….Lt. Gen. Dan Leaf (ret.), former U.S. Pacific Command deputy commander, wrote in an opinion piece ….. Leaf states the choice of an LRDR instead of the AN/SPY-6(V) could cause problems integrating Japan’s Aegis Ashore system with what the U.S. Navy will be using.”

    ….not so!….maybe the Gen. should stick to what he knows???

    “The Aegis Combat System is an American integrated naval weapons system developed by the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA, and now produced by Lockheed Martin.”…..plug and play??

    …and as others have said, let them be the first to prove the system!

    IMHO
    🙂

  • Nick

    Presuming the LM Japanese radar a variant of their Long Range Discrimination Radar. LM were favourite to win SPY-6 contract, they lost to Raytheon, but they were awarded the 2015 $784M LRDR contract from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), a S-band GaN radar, which passed its critical design review on schedule Nov. 2017, full-rate manufacturing starting in mid-2021.

    LRDR uses dual polarisation tech to discriminate objects and provide better track data by comparing the power and timing of energy returned to the radar from both horizontal and vertical pulses, gleaning information such as the size, shape, and composition of objects. The improved discrimination required even without complication of decoys as a ballistic missile launch puts “a flying junkpile” into space, from burnt-out rocket motors to loose bolts, all coasting along on the same ballistic trajectory, and only the warhead needs targeting amongst the clutter. 90% of the software code utilized for LRDR is from legacy Aegis BMD code.

    Japanese LRDR variant integration with Aegis CMS hopefully not a major problem, Aegis was chosen for the new Australian Hunter frigates and will need to integrate with the Australian CEFAR radar. LM has also proposed to Navy MLU to the Burke SPY-1 radars to new generation/senativity with the same tech T/R modules as used in the LRDR.

    • Graeme Rymill

      The Hunter class frigates require AEGIS integration with a Saab Australia developed tactical interface based on the Saab 9LV Combat Management System. In turn the Saab CMS will manage the CEAFAR active phased array radar. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has raised concerns that AEGIS/Saab 9LV integration is high risk as it “would require significant development work”.

    • I think that the IOC is earlier than you stated, however schedules have been known to be pushed out to the right, and since the little DPRK m1dget (don’t want to be flagged for unPC) is better behaved lately, perhaps there is less urgency and they can take the time to do it right.

  • ew_3

    Really doesn’t who the vendor is.
    What matters is getting the new technology out there. GaN is huge step forward.