Lockheed Martin announced on 12 March that it has recently completed a successful site acceptance test of a TPS-77 Multi-Role Radar (TPS-77 MRR), marking an on-time delivery of the first of three such radars to the Latvian Ministry of Defence and a major step forward in strengthening national defence. This milestone is the most recent event in a sixteen year partnership of radar development and training between Latvia and Lockheed Martin, including the 2015 contract for three TPS-77 MRRs.
The TPS-77 MRR plays a vital role in improving the Latvian Air Force's airspace defence capabilities by increasing its low-level flight surveillance and identification performance, leading to enhanced early warning and situational awareness that allows it to make more informed and efficient decisions in response to modern threats.
The radar is the latest version in Lockheed Martin's line of surveillance radars and was developed in response to the evolving needs of armed forces on the battlefield. Its multi-role single scan technology allows operators to select multiple missions for the radar at a single time, such as long range or medium range low-level flight surveillance. As the radar rotates through each 360° scan, the system automatically adjusts to the selected mission. Changes can be easily made if the system is moved or mission is changed. Once set, no further operator inputs are required. As with current production TPS-77s and other next generation Lockheed Martin radars, the TPS-77 MRR uses Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology in its design, which means that the radar‘s high power amplifiers consume much less power, ultimately increasing reliability, lowering life-cycle costs and extending the system’s useful life.
The TPS-77 MRR is designed for ultra-low power consumption and is the most transportable version of Lockheed Martin's successful TPS-77 product line. Latvia's variant of this high-performing radar can be truck mounted for operation at remote sites or dismounted for use at fixed sites. As part of the TPS-77 MRR program, Lockheed Martin has engaged with local Latvian industry for procurement and production. These relationships will form the basis for long-term local maintenance and support of the new systems. “Latvian industry has been an important partner during the development and production of the TPS-77 MRRs. This support will help strengthen Latvia's industrial capability," commented Lockheed Martin Ground Based Radar Programme Director, Rick Cordaro.
"Acquisition of the TPS-77 MRR is a huge investment in the strengthening of combat capabilities of the National Armed Forces, enabling the Latvian army to address current security challenges with appropriate response tools. Surveillance, especially low-level flight surveillance and identification is a vital part of Latvian airspace surveillance capabilities. New MRR technology is compatible with other types of radars used by other countries," emphasised Latvia's Minister for Defence, Raimonds Bergmanis.
Lockheed Martin has produced and maintains more than 180 surveillance-range radars, all of which are operational around the world detecting targets at ranges up to 250 miles, 24 hours a day. There are three previously installed Lockheed Martin TPS-77 radars in Latvia, positioned in Čalas, Lielvārde and Audriņi. These radars can operate completely unmanned and many have performed for decades in remote, inhospitable areas and in a wide range of operational environments.