The most watchful eye

Early Warning Radar is a key element of effective missile defense

A photo of the Upgraded Early Warning Radar.

Early Warning Radar provides detection and tracking of incoming ballistic missiles, and can help distinguish between actual attacks and objects that pose no threat. 

When it comes to missile defense, early warning is the key.

There's a radar for that.

Early Warning Radar, or EWR, has been continually modernized to provide early detection and tracking of ballistic missiles, and distinguish between incoming attacks and objects that pose no threat.

Raytheon's EWR boasts a 5,000 kilometer range and offers space surveillance. The key is to get the warning as quickly as possible.

“If we don’t have an EWR in the case of an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile, we would lose tens of minutes of warning time, and the consequence of that, in terms of missile defense, means a much smaller window of opportunity to protect a populated area,” said Monica Giffin, program manager of Solid State Module Replacement, or SSMR, for Raytheon. “With ongoing modernization, it’s like breathing new life into systems we hold close to our hearts.”

Modernization is conducted to keep the radars effective in the future.

In September 2019, the U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon a nearly $500 million SSMR contract to provide new transmit/receive modules for all operational AN/FPS-132 EWRs.

An eye on space

EWR is a key sensor for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. By performing surveillance into space, it can help intercept ballistic missiles above the atmosphere, away from any intended targets in the U.S. or allied nations. The UAE could become one of only a few select countries, and the first in its region, to have an EWR that can conduct space surveillance.

“Our radar is designed so the surveillance fence is up all the time, resulting in a high probability of detecting missiles, satellites and aircraft,” said David Woodward, Raytheon’s director of International EWR Programs.

The United States and partner nations have invested more than $9 billion in Raytheon's EWR technology.

The radar's 5,000-kilometer detection range and 360-degree line-of-sight means it peers above the atmosphere to prevent an adversary from overflying detection. The radar benefits from the significant Raytheon investment in gallium nitride, or GaN, circuit technology, which offers enhanced performance and lower costs. GaN gives the radar more power and wastes less in excess heat.

Published On: 03/12/2020
Last Updated: 03/16/2020