Firefinder radars track the path of incoming shells, rockets, mortars, etc., and calculate the point they were fired from. They currently come in 2 versions. The TPQ-36 radar is specifically designed to counter medium range enemy weapon systems out to a range of 24 kilometers, while the TPQ-37 can locate longer-range systems, and even surface launched missiles, out to 50 kilometers. Michael Yon, embedded with 1-24 (“Deuce Four”) in Mosul, offered a first hand description of counter-battery radars’ effect on enemy tactics in 2005.
Better radar technologies offer a number of potential advantages for this role, including wider fields of view, less maintenance required, and fewer false positives. In September 2006, Lockheed Martin announced a $120 million contract win to provide the U.S. Army with 5 Enhanced AN/TPQ-36 radars, otherwise known as the EQ-36 Counterfire Target Acquisition Radar, to be delivered within 36 months. Despite the official name, this is a new radar system. Orders are beginning to accumulate, and deliveries have begun…
- The EQ-36 [updated]
- Contracts & Key Events [updated]
The EQ-36 would include a number of improvements, including 360 degree coverage capability instead of the TPQ-36’s current 90 degrees. A successful program would replace many of the TPQ-36 radars currently in service.
The initial contract for 5 radars was issued in January 2007. In spring 2007, the prototype completed successful counterfire target acquisition testing in both 90- and 360-degree modes at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Grounds in Yuma, AZ. In summer 2007, the system completed successful air surveillance testing at White Sands Missile Range in White Sands, NM. A prototype was unveiled in October 2007, and the 1st system was delivered to the Army in summer 2009.
An April 2010 option raises the EQ-36’s order total to 35 fielded radars, but the total could climb far higher. Over the longer term, the potential exists for an $1.6+ billion order of more than 180 radars.
Industrial tram members for the EQ-36 program include Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors (MS2)...
- Lockheed Martin MS2 in Syracuse, NY (Program lead, antenna array, digital module assemblies);
- Lockheed Martin MS2 in Moorestown, NJ, facility (transmit/receive modules);
- Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support, in Orlando, FL (EQ-36 training system and curriculum);
- Burtek, Inc. in Chesterfield, MI (operations shelter and stationary platform);
- Syracuse Research Corp. in Syracuse, NY (digital signal processor);
- Tobyhanna Army Depot in Tobyhanna, PA (maintenance support).
Contracts and Key Events
April 14/10: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Syracuse, NY receives a sole-source $108.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 17 enhanced AN/TPQ-36 (EQ-36) radar systems, plus associated sustained operational group and mission essential group (MEG) non-recurring engineering and MEG installation. Work is to be performed in Syracuse, NY, with an estimated completion date of Oct 8/10. The US CECOM Acquisition Center in Fort Monmouth, NJ manages the contract (W15P7T-06-C-T004).
This award is made under an unfinalized contract, and commits 49% of the estimated final value. Lockheed Martin has confirmed to DID that this is a new radar order, bringing the field order total to 35:
“We understand the Army’s urgent need… [for] enhanced protection from rockets, mortars and artillery. Lockheed Martin is already under contract for 16 EQ-36 systems and we are delivering them to the Army on schedule.”
July 2/09: Lockheed Martin delivers the first EQ-36 Radar System to the U.S. Army on time, following successful live-fire performance testing against indirect fire from mortars, artillery and rockets this spring at the Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The effort also included engineering, contractor and government acceptance testing.
To accelerate the fielding of the EQ-36 radar, the U.S. Army in June 2008 exercised contract options with Lockheed Martin for 12 additional systems, which will include enhanced performance capabilities. With production for both orders now running in parallel, and the 12-radar order accelerated, all 17 of the EQ-36 systems are expected to be delivered by fall 2010.
April 29/09: Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors in Liverpool, NY receives a $20.7 million firm-fixed-price contract that buys spares for the 12 initial production Enhanced AN/TPQ-36 Radar Systems.
Work is to be performed in Liverpool, NY, with an estimated completion date of Aug 31/10. One sole source was bid solicited from the radar’s manufacturer and one bid was received by the CECOM Acquisition Center in Fort Monmouth, NJ (W15P7T-06-C-T004).
July 29/08: Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Support in Syracuse, NY received an $84.3 million firm-fixed-price contract to accelerate the production and delivery of the 12 Enhanced AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder Initial Production Radar Systems (EQ-36) currently listed as options within contract W15P7T-06-C-T004. Work will be performed in Syracuse, NY, and is expected to be complete by Oct 25/10. There was one bid solicited on March 23/08, and 1 bid was received by the CECOM Acquisition Center in Fort Monmouth, NJ activity (W15-P7T-06-C-T004)
March 2008: EQ-36 program successfully completed its Critical Design Review.
Nov/ Dec 2007: A prototype EQ-36 radar built by industry partner SRC is tested against mortars and rockets at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ. During the tests, the EQ-36 prototype successfully located the firing positions of both rocket and mortar launchers. Lockheed Martin says that live fire testing was conducted over a 7 day period without a single false alarm.
October 2007: EQ-36 program completes a successful Preliminary Design Review.
Oct 9/07: Lockheed Martin unveils an EQ-36 prototype.
September 27/06: Lockheed Martin’s contract win of up to $120 million (W15P7T-06-C-T004), issued by the Army’s Program Executive Officer-Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO-IEW and S). The company is directed to provide the Army with 5 Enhanced AN/TPQ-36 radars, within 36 months.
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