Northrop Grumman G/ATOR Radar Is Candidate To Replace US Old Radars

On the eve of the Air Force Association's annual fall conference in Washington, Northrop Grumman is pitching its G/ATOR multi-mission radar as a candidate to replace the U.S. Air Force's AN/TPS-75 air defense radar.

Managed by the U.S. Marine Corps' Program Executive Office Land Systems, G/ATOR is being designed to replace five Marine Corps radars to perform air defense, counter-fire target acquisition and air traffic control missions.

Northrop is pitching G/ATOR for the Air Force's Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR, pronounced Three Dealer) program, an effort to replace the AN/TPS-75 radar, which has been in service since the late 1960s. 3DELRR, currently in the technology demonstration phase, is intended to be the Air Force's future long-range, ground-based sensor for detecting, identifying, tracking and reporting aircraft and missiles.
At a Sept. 8 media briefing, Northrop officials argued that by selecting G/ATOR, the Air Force could save time, money and manpower.

Contracts for the first phase of 3DELRR were awarded in May 2009 to a team led by Lockheed Martin and another led by Sensis Corp.

Northrop anticipates an Air Force request for proposals for the next phase of 3DELRR by the end of this year. The request is part of a full and open competition, said Jeff Palombo, a Northrop sector vice president and general manager of the company's Land Forces Division.

The company is pitching G/ATOR as a 90 percent solution at 50 percent of the cost.
According to Palombo, G/ATOR meets 81 percent of 3DELRR's mission requirements against air-breathing targets and 92 percent of its mission requirements against theater ballistic missiles.
The Air Force could save more than 50 percent of its research and development dollars if it went with G/ATOR rather than developing its own radar, he said.

Palombo also said that if the Air Force chose G/ATOR, the larger order would drive the cost of the Marine radars down by more than 20 percent.

According to Northrop, by going with G/ATOR, the Air Force could accelerate its date for initial operational capability by two years.

By replacing five Marine Corps radars, G/ATOR offers cost savings in the form of reduced manpower, going from five crews of four to just one crew of four. The system also requires far fewer people for maintenance, according to Northrop.

Company officials stressed that G/ATOR is "no longer in the PowerPoint mode," and reporters were taken up to the roof of Northrop's facility outside of Baltimore to check out the radar's hardware.
The Marine Corps required one engineering and manufacturing development prototype radar, but Northrop decided to build one more using its own funds to help with testing, Palombo said.

G/ATOR also could serve the U.S. Army. However, that service is not as close as the Air Force to defining its requirements for a future multimission radar system, Palombo said.