SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Lockheed Martin expects to deliver a batch of Sentinel A4 radars to the U.S. Army by December to support preliminary assessments in fiscal 2025.

The next-generation radar, deemed critical to the service’s future of overhead defense, is powered by an active electronically scanned array, or AESA, and is able to concurrently detect and classify cruise missiles, rockets, artillery, mortars and drones.

“Those are user-operational evaluation systems. Those are going to start delivery end of November, December timeframe,” David Kenneweg, Lockheed’s program director for multi-mission air defense radars, told reporters during a Nov. 2 tour of the company’s facility in Syracuse, New York.

Initial operational test and evaluation — meant to gauge effectiveness and flaws of new technologies — is expected in the first half of fiscal 2025. The green light for full-blown production could quickly follow.

“The system has been designed to be able to have a growth capability to it,” Kenneweg said, “and we’ll be looking at embracing that growth capability.”

The Army signed off on Sentinel A4 low-rate initial production this year. The service’s program executive officer for missiles and space, Maj. Gen. Frank Lozano, at the time told Defense News that “a really high-quality radar” was needed for successful interceptions.

The Sentinel A4 is slated to replace the older Sentinel A3 made by RTX. It will plug into the Army’s Integrated Battle Command System, or IBCS, a key piece in the puzzle that is the Pentagon’s Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control endeavor.

CJADC2, as it’s known, envisions once-disparate forces and databases across land, air, sea, space and cyber seamlessly linked. Achieving that state, defense officials say, will allow the U.S. military to outthink and outshoot tech-savvy adversaries such as China and Russia.

“There’s a heavy focus on any sensor, any shooter,” Chandra Marshall, Lockheed’s vice president for radar and sensor systems, told reporters. “The ability of our radars to interface with any combat system is the foundation for our design, to make it easy and to make our track quality good enough so that we can provide it to any combat system and be that conduit to make decisions, from a firepower perspective.”

Lockheed is the world’s largest defense contractor when ranked by defense-related revenue, raking in roughly $63.3 billion in 2022, according to Defense News analysis. The Maryland-based company won a $281 million Sentinel A4 development contract in September 2019.

Colin Demarest was a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covered military networks, cyber and IT. Colin had previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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