A new state-of-the art long-range air defence radar that can be deployed in support of worldwide operations or used to cover gaps in coverage on home shores has been delivered to the UK.Last year, the DE&S Air Defence and Electronic Warfare Systems (ADEWS) team based at RAF Henlow awarded a £13.1 million contract to Indra, a Spain based global company to produce their Lanza Long Tactical Range 25 radar for the RAF’s Battlespace Management Force.Due to its small number of components, this system can be rapidly deployed worldwide using in-service military vehicles and transport aircraft such as the Hercules C-130J. The radar also benefits from being highly capable of mitigating the effect of windfarms and can rotate at two different speeds providing an Air Traffic Radar Service mode long desired by the RAF.The radar will be used mainly for long range surveillance of co-operative (secondary surveillance) and non-co-operative aircraft. The flexibility of the system means that the RAF will be able to carry out a variety of Battlespace Management Missions, including long and short term deployments worldwide, as well as gap-filling in the UK in response to national operational requirements.Last year the DE&S ADEWS team excelled in getting Indra on contract in just six months due to hard work and an open relationship with their RAF customer and despite COVID 19 significantly impacting both Spain and UK making planning particularly challenging on both sides the team has made significant progress. Now the radar has arrived in the UK it will undergo extensive trials and is due to be accepted into service with the RAF by mid-2021.
A number of defence commentators have said this week's F-35B crash highlights the need for an attrition reserve. And I agree with them. Worth pointing out though that the RAF has lost 7 C-130s since 1999. That's 1/3 of the Tactical Air Transport fleet after 2024.