The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $104 million contract to develop, produce and field a threat simulator to train combat aircrews to recognize and deal with rapidly evolving threats, such as surface-to-air missiles. The contract calls for the development and delivery of a Production Ready Assembly (PRA) article and options to produce up to 20 systems.

The Advanced Radar Threat System Variant 2 (ARTS-V2) will use radar threat emitters to simulate advanced medium-range surface-to-air missiles (SAM) to support legacy and 5th generation combat aircrew training requirements.

Other countries are interested in the ARTS-V2, according to Tim Cahill, Lockheed’s vice president of air and missile defense systems, who says potential buyers include countries that plan to operate the stealth F-35 fighter jet.

"As the capabilities on the ground from potential threat nations get stronger and better and more capable ... it's very important that the pilots need to train against a system that is actually a high-fidelity simulation of what they would fly against in combat," he said.

Cahill said the truck-mounted system would emit signals that simulated those of current and evolving advanced surface-to-air threats.