G/ATOR Aims To Provide Marines
Mobile, Lightweight Radar System
BACKGROUND: The Ground/
Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR)
is a highly mobile radar system
intended to support the Marine
Corps’ expeditionary warfare requirements. It will provide the
Marines with improved capabilities
to detect, track and provide target
data to engage hostile aircraft,
cruise missiles and unmanned
air vehicles. It also will provide the
location of hostile rockets, mortars
and artillery, as well as robust
air traffic control capabilities to
improve the safety of air operations.
SCOPE: Northrop Grumman is
the G/ATOR prime contractor
under a $256 million contract
signed in March 2007, which
includes system design and development, two low-rate initial production units and the first 15 full-rate production units. The Marine
Corps plans to build as many as 81
TIMELINE: In May, G/ATOR successfully concluded the formal preliminary design review, the government’s first opportunity to closely
observe a product’s hardware and
software design. Later this year, it
will face the critical design review.
Initial operating capability is
scheduled for late 2012.
WHO’S IN CHARGE: Steve
Bocskor, Northrop Grumman’s
G/ATOR program director. He has
been with the program since it
began. Prior to G/ATOR, he
worked as a program manager for
special programs at Northrop
This is a very state-of-the-art radar system. It will replace the functionality of five Marine Corps radar systems, and allow the Marines
to shed those aging systems and save money in the long run.
The biggest challenge with G/ATOR has been dealing with the changes
stemming from up-armoring the Humvees. G/ATOR is designed to go on
them and is supposed to be highly expeditionary, and as armor was added,
that reduced the payload weight for G/ATOR. The design is very adaptable to
various platforms. The Humvee is probably the hardest vehicle to design to.
Our bread and butter is radar that is designed to go in the nose cone of
fighter jets. We’ve taken some of that lightweight airborne technology and
adapted it for G/ATOR.
The program, initiated in September 2005, was restarted in March 2007
after an 18-month hiatus caused by a protest filed by ITT, Lockheed Martin,
Raytheon and Technovative Applications to the Government Accountability
Office, which resulted in the program being recompeted.
We think there will be interest in G/ATOR among the other services
because it provides so much functionality in a single platform. All the
services have the same problem: a bunch of stove-piped radars that were
designed over the last 15 to 25 years, and the operating and sustainment
costs are high. The systems G/ATOR will replace have virtually no
logistics commonality at all. We’re looking at operation and maintenance savings of hundreds of millions of dollars.