The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin $46.8 million in contract options to upgrade its Atmospheric Warning System radars throughout the US and Canada. The contract covers initial planning and design work to modernize 29 AN/FPS-117 long-range surveillance radars, which were initially built by Lockheed in the 1980s under the Seek Igloo North Warning program, according to a company release. It includes 15 radars in Alaska, 11 in Canada, as well as individual sites in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Utah. The solid-state L-band radar is capable of continuously covering airspace out to 250 miles using unmanned operations that are reliable even in harsh Arctic climates. Lockheed expects to be awarded follow-on contract options to update the radar’s signal and data processing, extending the network life-span through 2025, states the release. The company already has completed similar work at sites in the UK, Germany, Romania, and Kuwait.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.