Hanscom awards $1 billion for Qatar’s new radar

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center awarded a $1.06 billion contract to Raytheon Corp. late February for early warning radar construction in Qatar, expected to be completed June 2021.

The 360-degree radar tracks ballistic missiles as part of a missile defense shield, expanding Qatar’s ability to protect its people and assets from missile attack. The contract is sole-source.

"EWR is a logical addition to the layered system the Qataris are building,” said Gerry Cavallo, AFLCMC’s Qatar radar program manager at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts. “AFLCMC wrote and oversees sustainment and upgrade contracts to similar radar sites arrayed around the world to protect U.S. interests, so we’re the natural choice to manage this contract and ensure our Qatari partners are provided with the best possible facility.”

Facility footprint is larger than almost all other radar types. Similar existing radars are nearly 150 feet tall, with radar faces approximately 80 feet in diameter. The foreign military sale agreement, signed Dec. 7, 2016, requested AFLCMC provide the radar itself and associated mission support facilities at a remote location in Qatar.

The EWR is designed to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with minimal personnel requirements.

“[The radar] will better protect Qatar's people, culture and infrastructure against current and future medium- and long-range ballistic missile threats,” said Maj. Jared Eros, country director for Bahrain and Qatar at Secretary of the Air Force International Affairs. “It also provides a permanent defensive capability to the Qatar Peninsula, and enhances interoperability with U.S. forces in the region.”

U.S. forces based in Qatar will also benefit from the protection offered by the upgrade to the missile shield. A layered defense takes advantage of specialized abilities of different radars and interceptors. EWR detects long-range threats and will eventually be part of a Qatari missile defense shield, including the Patriot system. This large awareness net provides more decision time to command centers, allowing fire control systems better threat identification and a higher chance of successfully destroying missiles.