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TRACER radar deployed to SOUTHCOM

The Lockheed Martin tactical reconnaissance and counter-concealment-enabled radar (TRACER) will be deployed on its first operational deployment, said the company. Two of the synthetic aperture radars will be deployed aboard US Army Beechcraft C-12s to the Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of operations, which encompasses Latin America.

"It's being deployed the SOUTHCOM's area of responsibility, we can't say specifically," said Lockheed.

"Right now we're expecting most of calendar [2012]," said John Beck, business development manager at Lockheed, "but it's clearly up to the customer. We obviously hope to extend the deployment."

The low-frequency, foliage-penetrating radar has undergone 160 flights on both manned and unmanned aircraft. Additional testing in the USA will focus on adding movement detection and onboard processing capabilities to the radar, with flight tests planned on an army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter later in 2012.

Beck said he expects the evaluation will eventually conclude in a formal programme of record for the US Army, but that any decision is several years away.

TRACER is a development of and replacement for the Lockheed foliage penetration radar, which has been operationally deployed in the SOUTHCOM area of operations since 2005.

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