A ballistic missile attack is chaotic. In a raid scenario, dozens of these weapons can approach from all directions, traveling at supersonic and even hypersonic speeds. Adversaries can mask them, making them look like something else, all while using electronic warfare to trick the target’s defenses.
Stopping those attacks is no small task, and it starts with a powerful radar. Or, in this case, two: the AN/FPS-132 Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR), which casts a wide-area net, and the Army Navy/ Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control Model 2 (AN/TPY-2) Radar, which delivers the most precise discrimination possible. Both are built by Raytheon, a Raytheon Technologies business.
“They work very well independently. That’s been proven over many years. What we're talking about now is a tight coupling of these two radars,” said Joe Preiss, technical director for the Strategic Missile Defense area of Raytheon, a business of Raytheon Technologies. “Using both radars takes full advantage of the differences in them in terms of where and how they detect objects. That combination delivers more robust detection and resilience, particularly in environments where there may be issues in seeing and identifying the threat.”
“The numbers of missiles are increasing substantially and they’re becoming more sophisticated,” said Bill Marcley, senior director of sensors and systems in the Air Power area of Raytheon. “So, you need radars that are operational and sensing all the time, capable of handling many threatening tracks at various ranges.”
That’s especially crucial when an adversary can mask its missiles or make them look like something else at the same time as they’re trying to desensitize your radar with electronic warfare. All this, as the attacker is sending a large raid size of ballistic missiles your way. How do you stop these threats in their tracks as promptly and as accurately as possible?
The thing about ballistic missile attacks is they can come from anywhere—from land, air, sea and even from submarines. Some stay within Earth’s atmosphere. Others hurtle through space. What that all means is that defensive radars must keep 360-degree watch all day, every day.
UEWR and AN/TPY-2 cover the entire field. These radars are like teammates in a soccer match, both available and ready to stop the opponent from advancing.