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