Raytheon missile defense radars designed to fit specific needs

Raytheon recently announced that its missile defense radars are some of the largest in the world, designed not only to protect the U.S., but also the world at large from ballistic missile threats.

"We build the radars as large as they need to be for a specific threat-set," Raytheon employee and former U.S. Army Air and Missile Defender Jim Bedingfield said. "Radars that have a global mission are going to be huge, but if we're talking about regional defense, we deliberately make them smaller."

Raytheon has developed a family of ballistic missile defense sensors, which range in size from being as large as an office building to as small as a golf ball in a multitude of different environments. The Sea-based X-band Radar is 10-stories high and sits in the ocean atop a converted oil rig, while the JLENS radars are carried through the air on two 80-yard long blimps. Each one of Raytheon's radars serves a specific purpose to counter a particular threat.

"Depending on the region, the country and the specific threats faced, we'll build a radar sized to meet the unique requirements," Bedingfield said.

Some radars require tens of thousands of transmitters to electronically monitor threats. Raytheon also offers X-Band technology, which is highly sensitive but smaller in size, making it portable and precise in its measurements.

The X-Band technology is sensitive enough to discriminate between real threats and false alarms. The X-Band system also features AN/TPY-2 technology, providing powerful defense capabilities in a transportable size.