Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on Sunday unveiled the TERRA radar system, which is capable of early-warning detection and accurate tracking of very long-range targets.
TERRA has been operating for two years already, in the service of a client that IAI declined to name.
IAI subsidiary ELTA Systems, which has built the radars for all of Israel’s air defense systems, unveiled TERRA at a security facility in southern Israel on Sunday.
The system is made up of two radars: The UTRA UHF band system, which ELTA unveiled earlier this year, and the new SPECTRA S-band system, which ELTA officially introduced to the international market on Sunday.
Moshe Dehokerker, business development department manager, told reporters that SPECTRA is designed for long-range tracking of targets like ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, hostile aircraft, and even satellite movements in space, while ULTRA’s strength lies in autonomously searching, detecting, and classifying incoming threats.
Though they can work separately, the two provide an unprecedented view of incoming threats when linked up, he said.
“TERRA’s enhanced performance is achieved through automatic handover and redundancy between the ULTRA and SPECTRA radars, combined with improved target load sharing, Electronic Counter- Counter Measures (ECCM) and severe-weather resilience,” IAI said in a statement.
Both systems are active electronic scanned array (AESA) radars that can be set up separately, or combined.
Despite their large size and weight, both can be quickly moved and set up, and SPECTRA can be mounted on a moving ship to provide a very large radar coverage area – larger than any other offshore radar system can provide.
SPECTRA can “detect and classify missiles and estimate their impact time,” Dehokerker added.
Together, both systems create a unified “picture of the sky,” he added.
When working in synergy, the systems employ two bands, making them all-weather resilient systems that provide 360-degree coverage.
SPECTRA is able to turn while tracking its targets.
The system comes at a time of increasing long-range ballistic threats from Iran. According to Gal Alon, business development director at ELTA, current Iranian missiles are twice as fast and have double the range, compared to Syrian and Iraqi missile threats 10 to 15 years ago.
TERRA is designed to detect longrange threats as quickly and “as soon as they enter the picture,” he said. TERRA is the most mobile system of its kind in the world, he added.
Officials at ELTA added that two global powers have only begun developing systems with these capabilities.
It took ELTA three years to complete the research and development phase of the project. “This is a huge achievement for us,” said Alon.
A number of potential clients have expressed interest in the system, including in the possibility of installing SPECTRA on a navy ship.