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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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US Marines to Soon Deploy Revolutionary Long-range G/ATOR Radar

Long range

(Photo : USMC) G/ATOR.

A new mobile radar system about to enter front line service in the U.S. Marine Corps has incredible range and replaces five other radars currently in use.

The AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar, or G/ATOR, is a next generation Air Surveillance/Air Defense and Air Traffic Control (ATC) Radar. It's a mobile active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system being developed by Northrop Grumman.

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Northrop Grumman said the antenna not only has great range, but also possesses "exceptional volumetric coverage." During tests featuring unobstructed transmission, the antenna detected and tracked tactical aircraft from the test site to south of New York City to Norfolk, Virginia (a distance of 600 km) to the Appalachian Mountains (a distance of 850 km).

G/ATOR is quite portable and can be single sling-loadable onto a Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

G/ATOR is capable of conducting four missions: counter rocket, artillery and mortar; counter unmanned aerial systems; short range air defense and air traffic control. It detects fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Marines say G/ATOR meets its expeditionary needs across the Marine Air-Ground Task Force spectrum replacing five legacy radar systems with a single solution.

The five Marine Corps legacy radar systems being replaced by this multi-function capability are the AN/TPS-63 (air defense); AN/TPS-73 (air-traffic control); AN/MPQ-62 (short range air defense); AN/TPQ-46 (counter-fire target acquisition) and UPS-3 (target tracking).

G/ATOR will be delivered to the first Marine operational air unit in February 2018.  The Marines have the first six of an eventual 45 G/ATOR systems and will begin developmental tests this year

G/ATOR leverages an open systems architecture, allowing for software and system upgrades to adjust to emerging threats.

"We are capable of adding additional functions such as theater ballistic mission capability, additional counter unmanned aerial systems capability such as low, slow, small. It already has some anti-jamming capability, but more could be added," said John Karlovich, G/ATOR program manager. 

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