to fielding the systems on time, he said, adding that
he was “hopeful” that the appropriators will come
through and deliver the funding necessary.
Bryan Clark, a senior fellow with the Center for
Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said if the funding cut by the House Appropriations Committee stands,
it could slow the program.
“They’re worried that there’s going to be a delay
in being able to transition it to full procurement,”
Clark said. “They’re at that critical stage where they’ve
done most of the R&D [research and development]
and they’re now into the stage where they’ve got final
The problem is that Congress may not understand
why the Marine Corps needs this capability so urgently,
and if the service cannot convince lawmakers that it is
so urgent, they may opt to grab money slated for the
G/ATOR to use on other more pressing issues.
“The concern is that Congress doesn’t get it —
doesn’t get the value of the capability — and is
looking for marks to pay for other priorities,” Clark
said. “Because what normally happens is commit-
tees have things they want to fund, and then they
go searching through the proposed budget for where
they can shave off a few dollars here and there, and
usually things that get cut aren’t explained as well.”
The main problem is that if Congress was to look at
the current concept of operations for the Marine Corps,
it would not see how the G/ATOR fits into the service’s
traditional role of conducting raids and amphibious
assaults. In the near future, however, the Marines will
be focused on things like expeditionary bases, where
G/ATOR could prove quite useful.
“The problem is those are kind of new ideas,” Clark
said. “If Congress looks at the articulated requirement,
they probably say, ‘I don’t get why it’s so important.’”
It will be painful if Congress opts to stick with the
cut, as the G/ATOR program almost certainly would
have to restructure, which could delay when the Corps
would be able to field the system.
However, regardless of what happens in the near
future, G/ATOR will get here eventually. And when it
does, the Marines will see a big boost in their radar
capabilities, Karlovich said.
“This radar is meeting all the capabilities,” he said.
“We have demonstrated that the radar is capable of
meeting all of its requirements.
Testing has shown that we continue
to make good progress, and we’re
only in Build Two of five builds.”
The radar was tested at Yuma
Proving Grounds in Arizona, with
manufacturer Northrop Grumman
conducting the engineering
“It’s demonstrated that it’s
going to meet its capabilities and is
very much poised to deliver on all
commitments from a capabilities
perspective,” Karlovich said.
So while there are certainly ob-
stacles in the way of the G/ATOR
program, Karlovich believes it will be
the “most capable radar of its kind.”
“It’s the first of its kind,” he
said. “It’s ambient air-cooled,
allowing it to be carted around the
battlefield. This thing will keep
pace with the Marines. It’s an
“2017 will be an exciting year,”
Northrop Grumman did not
respond to several requests for
Marine Corps radar technicians with the Early Warning Control Crew install the arms of the Ground/
Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) during a Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course exercise Sept.
16, 2015, at Cannon Air Defense Complex, Yuma, Ariz. The program was expecting delivery of the
first G/ATOR system in February, with fielding anticipated in 2018.