Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has been contracted by the U.S. Army to insert gallium nitride, or GaN, into the AN/TPQ-53, or Q-53, radar to extend its range.
The company announced Monday that it received a contract modification to upgrade medium range radars to the new Q-53, which it calls the "most modern radar in the U.S. Army inventory."
The new version is a transition to GaN-based radars, which provide additional power for longer-range counterfire target acquisition, as well as increased reliability and lowering maintenance costs, according to Lockheed.
"This modification takes advantage of our broad experience with radar production and next generation radar development experience coupled with Lockheed Martin's continuous investment in GaN and other radar technologies," Rick Herodes, director of Lockheed's Q-53 program, said in a press release.
"This update enables Q-53 mission growth for changing Army needs. We realize how critical it is to enhance the capabilities of the Q-53 so it can be responsive to the evolving operational demands and emerging threats our deployed troops face every day."
Lockheed has been developing the Q-53 since 2007, and it has been in use since 2010. The benefits of GaN technology, the company said, allow for a larger detection area and improved early detection, while the actual size of the radar has been greatly reduced.
The radar, mounted on a five-ton truck, is used for detecting, classifying, tracking and identifying the location of enemy fire and is aimed air surveillance and counter fire target acquisition.