The U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin have worked out a way to accelerate the delivery of the latest variant of Sentinel air and missile defense radar by six months.
At the AUSA 2021 annual conference on October 11, Lockheed unveiled its A4 version of the radar. The Sentinel A4 active electronically scanned array is the next-generation radar planned to replace the current phase and frequency scanned array in Sentinel A3 and earlier versions. It can detect cruise missiles, unmanned aircraft systems, rockets, artillery and mortars.
The big difference between the A3 and A4 versions is that the latter can simultaneously identify and track different threat types, Mark Mekker, program director of Army radars at Lockheed told Defense News. “You don’t have to put it in a dedicated mode. This can do all the modes simultaneously and doubles the range and accuracy.”
Sentinel A4 will be incorporated into the Army’s future integrated air and missile defense system and its Indirect Fires Protection Capability (IFPC) system, and is designed to keep up with the Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense System in formations.
The company is beginning to focus on the involvement of international partners. There are 15 countries with the A3 version, Mekker said.
On Monday, the U.S. Army Sentinel A4 Program Office awarded an accelerated contract award to the company to begin production for five additional A4s specifically for integration into the IFPC system in fiscal 2022. Those will be delivered in the first quarter of FY23. The A4 radars will go through soldier evaluation and receive feedback ahead of low-rate initial production.
Lockheed and the Army designed and built the A4 version for growth by building an oversized mechanical structure so that more radiant electronics can be added to the system without making any mechanical changes, Mekker told Defense News.
The A3 version “has had upgrades, but that growth was never planned. The A4 has been designed for growth, particularly related to size, weight and power swap. So that’s something that’s already been planned in, and it’s good because it’s going to help continue to grow the capability and help evolve it and help to keep up with the various evolving threats,” Col. Jason Tate, the Army’s program manager for STARE programs, said.
In the future, the Army would only have to upgrade the software for additional capabilities.
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