Land Warfare

Army plans to field first next-gen Sentinel A4 radar in late 2025

The Army and Lockheed Martin already have seen early interest among US allies and partners in the new Sentinel A4 radar.

Sentinel A4 radar

Lockheed Martin is expected to go into full rate production of the the Sentinel A4 radar in mid-2025. (Photo provided by Lockheed Martin.)

AUSA 2023 — The Army expects its new Sentinel A4 radar, being developed by Lockheed Martin as a linchpin in the service’s plans for contributing to joint all-domain operations, to reach initial operational capability (IOC) in the fourth quarter of 2025, according to service and company officials.

Col. Jason Tate, project manager for the Search, Track, Acquire, Radiate, Eliminate (STARE) Project Office at the Army’s Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, told reporters in an Oct. 4 briefing that the current plan is for initial operational test and evaluation to begin in early 2025, hopefully followed by a full rate production decision in the third quarter of that year that can kickstart fielding.

“The Army acquisition objective, the total number we plan on buying, is going to be 240 at the end of the day,” he added.

The Sentinel A4, which will use an active electronically scanned array (AESA), will replace Raytheon’s venerable Sentinel A3. It is designed to track cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems, helicopters, planes, rockets, artillery and mortar threats — and most crucially, to track and classify those different threat types simultaneously.

The upgraded radar will link into the Army’s signature command and control network, the Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) that represents the service’s contribution to the Pentagon’s Joint All Domain Command and Control, as well as the service’s own Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control (FAAD C2) network.

“The Sentinel A4 does provide data to these two systems, really allowing the Army to determine the best course of action to address the threats that are out there,” said Chandra Marshall, Lockheed Martin’s vice president/general manager for its Radar Systems and Sensors unit.

The new radar also will be integrated with the services future Indirect Fires Protection Capability to shoot down cruise missiles and large drones.

The Army and Lockheed Martin further have hopes that the Sentinel A4 will attract buyers among US allies and partners, with both Tate and Marshall confirming that some countries already are expressing early interest — but demurred on detailing which ones.

“From an international standpoint, we were seeking permission from the Tri-Service Committee to market and offer the Sentinel A4 to continue to build a robust strategy for future foreign military sales. The Army had received inquiries from numerous international partners. However, no cases currently exist,” said Tate.

The Tri-Service Committee is chaired by the Pentagon’s Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, currently headed by Bill LaPlante, and authorizes negotiations of International Armaments Cooperation Agreements.