Lockheed Martin’s LRDR Selected for Japanese AEGIS Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense Sites

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Aegis Ashore installation. Source: Lockheed Martin

On July 30, the Japanese Ministry of Defense announced that it had decided to procure Lockheed Martin’s radar over rival Raytheon’s to equip two AEGIS Ashore installations. AEGIS Ashore is a U.S. military technology for land-based ballistic missile defense and early warning derived from a long-standing naval AEGIS program.

The radar contest began with the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) in March of this year. Lockheed Martin submitted a bid centered on its Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), a new S-band radar developed as a component of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s ballistic missile defense system.  The radar is built on a solid-state architecture and features the latest in radar componentry trends – gallium nitride (GaN) technology.

Raytheon’s bid consisted of the SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), another S-band radar that utilizes GaN componentry. The SPY-6 is notable in that it replaces the outgoing AEGIS radar, the Lockheed Martin SPY-1, on board the next generation of U.S. Navy AEGIS-equipped destroyers.

Japan stated that it had selected Lockheed Martin’s LRDR in preference to Raytheon’s SPY-6 AMDR in part because the radar was specifically designed for a land-based deployment. It also said that the LRDR will have better life-cycle and operational cost performance.

Aegis Ashore Complex Concept. Source: Missile Defense Agency

Japan estimates that once it secures U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) approval, it will take about six years for the first LRDR-equipped AEGIS Ashore system to be produced and deployed. At the earliest, this gives an Initial Operational Capability (IOC) date sometime in 2024 should FMS approval be granted this year.

Preliminary cost estimates show that Japan is expecting the procurement and installation costs of two AEGIS Ashore sites to total $2.392 billion (JPY267.9 billion), or $1.196 billion (JPY134.0 billion) per facility.  Operations & maintenance and education & training costs are expected to swell costs to approximately $4.164 billion (JPY466.4 billion) for the total acquisition.

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