by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
8/22/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- A
program office here working to provide warfighters with a new
ground-based, long-range radar system is ready to move forward after the
completion of recent prototype demonstrations.
The Theater Battle Control Division's Three-Dimensional Expeditionary
Long-Range Radar, or 3DELRR, program office recently evaluated three
prototype capability demonstrations during the pre-engineering and
manufacturing development phase of the program.
3DELRR will detect, identify and track fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft
and will replace the decades-old TPS-75 radar as the principal Air Force
long-range, ground-based sensor. During the demonstrations, each of the
current technology demonstration phase contractors held a day-long
event to showcase a functioning full-scale, operational, long-range air
surveillance system prototype.
"These demonstrations were the final contract activities for the
twelve-month pre-engineering manufacturing and development period of
3DELRR's TD phase," said Suzanne Farrell, deputy program manager. "They
gave the program office the opportunity to evaluate each contractor's
initial design and validate compliance with 3DELRR requirements."
The prototypes needed to demonstrate a mature state of system
development and the outcome of risk-reduction efforts. Some elements
showcased included a full-scale antenna structure, signal and data
processing, and data display to show radar output. Live demonstrations
included the prototypes detecting and tracking targets of opportunity
from nearby airports, which stakeholders were able to observe either in
person or via live-feed webcasts.
"From a program management perspective, we have three very strong
competitors with three independent designs, so it's good to have that
competition as we go into the next phase," said Farrell.
The prototypes also had to exhibit functional modularity, net-centricity and scalability.
Other critical technology elements of the designs were provided by the
contractors during demonstrations to an independent technology readiness
assessment team in order to ensure they meet the technology readiness
level, or TRL, of 6. TRL 6 includes engineering feasibility fully
demonstrated in actual system application and is needed to move on to
"This is important to bring down technology risk," said Kevin Ray, 3DELRR chief engineer.
From here, the program office will move into a limited sources
competition. A request for proposal for EMD with an option for low-rate
initial production is anticipated to be released prior to the end of the
fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.
The limited competition is a change from the originally anticipated full
and open competition. Following market research, it was found that no
other interested offerors have the ability to provide the necessary
capabilities. Therefore, with an approved limited competition
justification and approval in place, the Air Force will competitively
select one of the three current contractors -- Lockheed-Martin, Northrop
Grumman Corp. or Raytheon -- to complete their 3DELRR design in the EMD
"Following extensive market research, we pursued the strategy change to
limit the competition in order to make our source selection more
efficient," said Elizabeth D'Amato, contracting officer.
Contract award is anticipated to be in the middle of fiscal 2014.
"The 3DELRR team has worked tirelessly to get to this critical point in
the program," said Farrell. "We are ready to move forward into the next
phase where we select a contractor to complete the design and begin
manufacturing this much-needed future warfighting capability."