Help From Uncle Sam

If you are a regular reader of SOFREP (and we hope you are), you probably already know the US has fast-tracked a second $800 million military aid package to Ukraine. But, in this writer’s opinion, it can’t get there fast enough.

Two AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel Air Surveillance Radar systems are included in that aid package. Why only two? It could be because their estimated cost is $70 million each.

Sometimes you’ll hear these referred to as “Sentinel Air Defense Radar.” Image Credit:

Simply put, the AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel is a radar system that alerts front-line air-defense weapons whenever it sees hostile planes, helicopters, drones, or missiles. It’s a three-dimensional radar, meaning it reports the range, bearing, and elevation of the objects it is tracking.

In particular, the Enhanced Sentinel radar uses an X-Band 360-degree phased array air-defense radar with a 46-mile range. It is used to alert and cue short-range air defense (SHORAD) weapons to the locations of hostile targets approaching them.  Sentinels are typically deployed with forward-area air defense units.

They have electronic counter-counter-measure capabilities, a Mode 5 identification friend or foe subsystem, and non-cooperative target recognition capabilities to identify threat aircraft. Sentinel, its generator, and command-and-control interface mount on a trailer that an M1082 truck can pull. Due to its relatively light weight, 3,900 lbs, it can be airlifted by helicopter and easily be put on rooftops or specially built towers for elevated radar coverage.

It is also very small relative to what it does and is therefore highly mobile and concealable which is very important on a modern battlefield

This short video shows members of the 10th Mountain Division employing Sentinel Radar to identify simulated incoming threats and teach friendly forces how to defeat similar enemy systems. Video courtesy of YouTube and the US Army 10th Mountain Division.