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The US Army is increasing its radar performance. It has recently awarded Lockheed Martin three contracts to produce additional Q-53 systems and outfit the radar with enhanced capabilities, including extended range and counter unmanned aerial vehicle (CUAV) surveillance. 

The solid-state phased array AN/TPQ-53 radar system, or, Q-53, detects, classifies, tracks and determines the location of enemy indirect fire in either 360 or 90 degree modes. The Q-53 is replacing the aging AN/TPQ-36 and AN/TPQ-37 medium-range radars in the U.S. Army’s inventory. It provides greater mobility, increased reliability and supportability, lower life-cycle cost, and reduced crew size, according to lockheedmartin.com.

The Q-53’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) provides the foundation for multi-mission capabilities. The Q-53 has demonstrated the ability to identify and track UAVs, showing the capacity to incorporate air surveillance simultaneously with counter target acquisition in a single sensor.

The Q-53 has protected warfighters around the world since 2010.

Lockheed Martin uses an open GaN (Gallium Nitride) foundry model, leveraging relationships with commercial suppliers that utilize the power of the expansive telecommunications market to provide military-grade GaN modules while taking advantage of commercial cost efficiencies.

The flexible architecture of the Army’s most modern radar allows for these upgrades, which support adaptable growth of the system to address aircraft, drone and other threats in the future.

“We realize the warfighter needs new and improved capabilities. The Q-53 represents a fast path to respond to current and emerging threats,” said Rick Herodes, director of the Q-53 program at Lockheed Martin. “The flexibility of the architecture continues to allow the Q-53 to provide capabilities far beyond the original mission and allows for additional upgrades in the future.”

The contract is awarded for a third lot of 15 Full Rate Production systems. Once this contract is delivered the Army will own 189 Q-53 systems. The Lot 3 systems will continue to be produced using gallium nitride transmit-receive modules. This will provide the radar with additional power, reliability and the possibility for enhanced capabilities including extended range, counterfire target acquisition (CTA) and multi-mission, which delivers simultaneous CTA and air surveillance, according to the statement on prnewswire.com.