The U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon a $50.6 million engineering and manufacturing development contract to build mobile ATC systems capable of providing approach control guidance to military and other aircraft operating within a terminal airspace area. Raytheon will supply 19 mobile systems under the service’s deployable radar approach control (D-Rapcon) program; the overall contract value is approximately $400 million.
Raytheon refers to its D-Rapcon solution as a “control tower in a box,” consisting of primary and secondary radars integrated with a deployable, quickly installed radar antenna; an operations center with eight controller positions; and a VHF/UHF voice communications center. System components can be transported in four C-130s or in a combination of other cargo aircraft to a forward operating area or disaster site.
Raytheon said it incorporated other, fielded subsystems in the mobile solution, including its ASR-11 digital airport surveillance radar, capable of primary surveillance radar coverage to 60 miles and monopulse secondary surveillance radar coverage to 120 miles; and standard terminal automation replacement system, or Stars, an automation system used in U.S. terminal radar approach control facilities. Lockheed Martin, which competed for the D-Rapcon contract with Arinc as a partner, proposed a mobile solution based on its TPS-79 tactical surveillance radar and microprocessor-en route automated radar tracking system.
D-Rapcon systems will replace aging mobile radars, including the MPN-14K and Raytheon’s AN/TPN-19 landing control central (radar set) systems, which date to the 1970s. “We have a significant military ATC capability, and deployability is one of our specialties,” Robert Meyer, Raytheon business development manager for air traffic management, told AIN earlier this year. The company has also delivered about 50 AN/TPN-31 air traffic navigation, integration and coordination systems (Atnavics) to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. “Atnavics is a highly tactical ATC system” that can be transported in two Humvees and a trailer and set up in an hour, Meyer said.
(Raytheon formally announced the D-Rapcon contract award from the U.S. Air Force on May 20. The contract calls for one engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) unit, with production options for up to 18 D-Rapcon systems. Ten of the units would be delivered to the Air National Guard, seven to the active-duty Air Force Space Command, one to the Air Force ATC school and one to the Air Force depot. The potential full value of the contract is $260 million; the Air Force authorized spending $50.6 million for the early development stage, according to Raytheon. —BC)