On Jan. 24, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research Development and Acquisition approved the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar program for Low Rate Initial Production at a Department of Defense acquisition event known as Milestone C. Northrop is the G/ATOR system prime contractor.
“G/ATOR has demonstrated operational capabilities that will fundamentally change how the Marine Corps detects, tracks and engages a broad range of target sets,” said Jeffrey Q. Palombo, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman’s Land and Self Protection Systems Division. “This radar system joins the proud family of Northrop Grumman offerings for domestic and global customers for medium and long-range ground-based radars for multiple mission requirements. It’s the most mature S-Band AESA, air-cooled ground radar system. The benefit of open architecture design and the ability to scale the system technology permits this product line to meet a multitude of ground and ship-based radar missions and capabilities.”
Over the past year, the system has been subjected to intense test and environmental conditions, proving the capability of providing excellent situational awareness against a variety of platforms, including fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and unmanned autonomous system platforms.
The Milestone C decision follows last year’s successful completion of Developmental Testing, Operational Assessment and a formal Marine Corps Production Readiness Review. To ensure the system was subjected to a broad range of operational conditions, Developmental Testing was conducted in both the littoral environment at the Surface Combat Systems Center at Wallops Island, Va., as well as the desert and mountain environments at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz.
Additionally, G/ATOR supported two Weapons and Tactics Instruction exercises at Yuma in 2013. WTI is the Marine Corps’ largest and most challenging aviation operational exercise. Northrop Grumman’s engineering development model of the AN/TPS-80 system also demonstrated its ballistic missile defense capability by successfully detecting multiple rocket launches during company-funded testing.