Australia’s CEA Technologies has been selected to participate in a rapid prototyping program to demonstrate the capabilities of its products in a U.S. Air Force (USAF) program for a long range expeditionary radar performance this year.

The company will receive US$500,000 ($777,895) under a Foreign Comparative Test project award for the USAF’s Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) program, which seeks to replace the service’s AN/TPS-75 radars to provide long-range surveillance, detection and tracking of aerial targets.

Two other companies, Lockheed-Martin and Northrop-Grumman, were shortlisted for the program and will receive grants of similar value.

(CEA Photo)

The rapid prototyping program, which is known as the SpeedDealer demonstration, will allow the USAF to assess the military utility of the systems to perform the 3DELRR mission, and comes after the USAF cancelled a development program with Raytheon to develop a new radar in favour of an off-the shelf solution.

The USAF said in its announcement that the companies will need “to demonstrate their radar system’s capabilities, maintenance concepts and radar performance against operationally-relevant targets and conditions, no later than the end of September.”

It added after conclusion of the demonstration phase, “a system that successfully completes the event may be selected for integration, and potentially production, contracts by the end of this calendar year” with plans for the system to attain initial operating capability by 2024.

The companies were selected following an industry day in February this year, with the USAF releasing a solicitation for offers on the 2nd of March. The program office had originally requested responses to the solicitation by April 1, but extended the deadline to April 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and released its decision on the 11th of May.

Close-up view of the CEAFAR and CEAMOUNT radar and illuminator suite on board a Royal Australian Navy frigate (Photo: Defence)

The Foreign Comparative Test program which CEA was awarded the contract under allows the U.S. Defense Department to test and acquire technologies from designated foreign sources to satisfy its own military needs.

CEA Technologies is the company behind the highly regarded CEAFAR and CEAMOUNT system that equips the Royal Australian Navy’s ANZAC-class frigates, and has also been tapped to supply radars for Defence’s land- and sea-based air defence needs, including integration of its CEATAC radar with the Kongsberg NASAMS ground-based-air defence systems selected under LAND 19 Phase 7B.

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Kym Bergmann
Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


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