- , May 1, 2018

Quick Facts

Role and Mobility Long-Range Air Surveillance; Ground-Based, Non-Mobile
Frequency L-Band
Range 470 km
Air Defense Interceptor Systems N/A
Targets Theater Ballistic Missiles
Status and Exports Operational; Exported to Canada, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Jordan, Kuwait, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom
Producer Lockheed Martin


The AN/FPS-117 is a fixed position, solid state, long-range, three-dimensional radar that provides airspace surveillance.[i] It consists of a primary radar, a secondary radar, and a subsystem for simulation. Designed to be part of the American-Canadian North Warning System, AN/FPS-117 provides long-range detection and coverage for drug interdiction support and tactical command and control.[ii] The system boasts a pencil beam capability that allows for complete flexibility in customizing the beam patterns to optimize performance in challenging terrain and clutter applications.[iii] Operating in the L-Band frequency, the AN/FPS-117 has a range of 470 km and enhanced weather and clutter mapping displays. It is used dually for air defense and air traffic control. The AN/TPS-77 is the transportable version of the AN/FPS-117.

Strategic Implications

The AN/FPS-117 radar is strategically valuable because of its inherent ability to rapidly respond to attempts at jamming and anti-radiation missiles.[iv] Specifically, the AN/FPS-117 radar is capable of randomly hopping among 18 channels in the 1215-1400 MHz band allowing it to counter jamming.[v] Also, its pencil beam architecture also offers the advantage of “looking down” from elevated sites to detect aircraft in valleys, minimizing the possibility of enemy targets slipping by unnoticed.[vi] AN/FPS-117 can be placed in rugged terrain and high conflict areas, while maintaining its peak performance, making it a very diverse radar.

Recent News


    January 2015: The Air Force received an early delivery of AN/FPS-117 field maintenance equipment

    January 2014: United States fields a contract to modernize its AN/FPS-117 radars

    November 2011: Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to upgrade the radars to extend their operational lives through 2025

    August 2006: Lockheed Martin stated that there are 127 AN/FPS-117 radar systems operational in 14 countries worldwide

    November 2003: Germany contracted with Lockheed Martin to upgrade its AN/FPS-117 radars

    1988: The German defense Procurement agency, BWB, ordered eight AN/FPS-117 radars

    July 1984: The radar was picked to replace the US Air Force’s AN/FPS-67 radar and commissioned at Tempelhof

    1980: The AN/FPS-117 was first produced by GE Aerospace (now Lockheed Martin) in 1980





    [iv] Ibid.