After successfully completing operational demonstrations, Lockheed Martin’s penetrating radar capable of detecting objects that are buried, camouflaged or concealed under dense foliage was deployed to support U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). Lockheed Martin’s Tactical Reconnaissance and Counter-Concealment-Enabled Radar, TRACER, will support SOUTHCOM missions in counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

“We welcome the opportunity to continue to support SOUTHCOM’s mission,” said Jim Quinn, vice president of C4ISR Systems with Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Defense. “As our foliage penetration system has for many years, the TRACER system stands ready to serve and deliver SOUTHCOM with unique actionable intelligence products 24/7, 365 days of the year, day or night.”

TRACER is a light weight, low-frequency synthetic-aperture radar that can peer through foliage, rain, darkness, dust storms or atmospheric haze to provide real-time, high-quality tactical ground imagery. Prior to this deployment, TRACER successfully completed more than 160 flight tests on manned and unmanned platforms. For its SOUTHCOM mission, TRACER will operate on a U.S. Army C12 aircraft.

TRACER replaces Lockheed Martin’s operationally proven foliage penetration (FOPEN) system, which has completed more than 1400 flights since going operational in 2005. While smaller and more lightweight than FOPEN, TRACER’s system design still incorporates all the capability of its predecessor, which uses an advanced detection capability to suppress background clutter. The dual band (VHF/UHF) capability increases target discovery over a variety of terrain and concealment scenarios to reveal positions of mobile and stationary targets.

There are currently four qualified TRACER systems available for deployment on manned or unmanned platforms. TRACER was developed for the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate, based at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md.