Jan 06 2014
The U.S. Army has awarded a Syracuse, N.Y., company a $221.8 million contract for lightweight counter mortar radar (LCMR) systems, spare parts, and services. SRCTec Inc. received the contract to begin full production on its AN-TPQ-50 counterfire radar system, often referred to as the LCMR (V)3.
Tom Wilson of SCR, co-inventor of the LCMR system, says it was developed by SRC to satisfy a 75th Ranger Regiment requirement to provide continuous 360-degree surveillance and warning of incoming mortars and provide the mortar launch location or point of origin. The system also is capable of detecting, tracking, and locating rockets and artillery.
The current U.S. Army version of the AN/TPQ-50 is deployed in two ways. It can be transported in cases and assembled on a tripod and often is located on rooftops or other high points to provide coverage, or it can be delivered with a vehicle mount kit enabling it to be installed on a HMMWV, which provides enhanced mobility.
The system uses a non-rotating, electronically steered antenna that detects targets with flatter trajectories than its predecessor and calculates the point of origin more accurately and from a greater distance. Its full azimuth coverage allows it to simultaneously detect and track multiple rounds fired from separate locations within a 315 square kilometer surveillance area.
The radar also can be configured to scan less than 360 degrees to provide focused sector coverage with more frequent update rates.
Once rocket, artillery, mortars (RAM), or improvised munitions are detected, the radar sends an early warning message indicating a round is incoming. It then gathers enough data to accurately locate the point of origin within 50 meters from more than 10 kilometers away. The information is reported back to an integrated command and control station or short range air defense system for a counterfire response.
The AN/TPQ-50 uses the Army’s Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) to interface with other systems and also has a local rugged notebook computer that also can be used for operation.
Wilson points out the LCMR system can be teamed with a number of weapon systems to respond in counterfire mode.
Organic assets such as mortars and artillery may be used, he says, or a commander may choose to call in an air strike or send ground troops.
About the author: Alan M. Petrillo is a Tucson, Ariz., freelance journalist who works in a variety of fields, writing for national and regional magazines and newspapers. He’s also the author of the historical mystery, Full Moon, several books on historical military small arms, and the nonfiction work, Ice Hockey in the Desert.