Home / Technology / Electronics & EW / G/ATOR, a three-dimensional Multisession AESA Radar to detect and fire low-observable targets, will be integrated with the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) System

G/ATOR, a three-dimensional Multisession AESA Radar to detect and fire low-observable targets, will be integrated with the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) System

G/ATOR is an expeditionary, three-dimensional, short- to medium-range multirole X-band radar system designed to detect low-observable, low-radar cross-section targets such as rockets, artillery, mortars, cruise missiles, and unmanned aircraft systems. The Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) is a single materiel solution for the mobile Multi-Role Radar System and Ground Weapons Locating Radar (GWLR) requirements.


The 3D X-band radar has been developed in three blocks, and will be employed by the MAGTF across the range of its capabilities. G/ATOR Block 1 (GB1) provides capabilities in the Short Range Air Defense and Air Surveillance mission areas and is capable of detecting incoming targets such as manned and unmanned aircraft, cruise missiles, rockets, artillery and mortars; GWLR G/ATOR Block 2 provides the ground weapons locating capability for counterbattery and counter-fire missions and Expeditionary Airport Surveillance. Radar G/ATOR Block 4 GB4 will address Air Traffic Control missions. G/ATOR Block 4 is not included in the Acquisition Program Baseline. Resourcing may be included in future budget builds. G/ATOR Block 3 was a series of enhancements that are incorporated into other blocks. The term Block 3 is no longer used.


The USMC took delivery of six low rate initial production (LRIP) GaAs radars in early 2017, with two of these used for the programme’s initial operational capability (IOC) of the air surveillance mission in February 2018. The remaining four systems will establish IOC for the counter-battery mission later this year (2018) , Northrop Grumman said in a statement.


The G/ATOR is the first production ground-based, multi-mission active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar that incorporates advanced gallium nitride (GaN) technology. The radar is integrated with advanced high-power and high-efficiency GaN antenna technology that improves its operational capabilities. The first six G/ATOR systems incorporated the standard gallium arsenide (GaA) technology; the seventh system and all subsequent systems produced will incorporate GaN antennas. Northrop Grumman delivered the first US Marine Corps (USMC) AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) fitted with gallium nitride (GaN) radar technology in July 2018.


The delivery of the latest variant of G/ATOR, marks the transition from gallium arsenide (GaAs) transmit and receive (T/R) modules to the advanced GaN T/R modules, which improve system performance and reliability.


The Army is coordinating with the Marine Corps to integrate the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) with the Integrated Air and Missile Defense program, a sign of new confidence by the Army that its $7.9 billion IAMD program — beset two years ago by a string of serious developmental setbacks and schedule delays — has turned a corner and is “on track” for fielding in 2022 or sooner.


Raytheon’s 360-degree AESA radar passes 3,000 hours of operations

Raytheon Company’s 360-degree capable, gallium nitride -powered active electronically scanned array, a Raytheon funded and proposed upgrade to the Patriot® Air and Missile Defense System, recently completed 3,000 hours of operation.


“The company-funded radar has demonstrated 360-degree capability, tracking tactical targets such as maneuvering fighter aircraft, simulated cruise and ballistic missiles, and drones,” said Tom Laliberty, Raytheon Vice President of Integrated Air and Missile Defense for Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business at the ILA Berlin Air Show.


To prove 360-degree capability of the Raytheon-funded radar, a main AESA GaN antenna array worked with a second GaN-based AESA antenna that was pointed in a different direction. As targets flew out of one array’s field of view and into another, the two arrays seamlessly passed information back and forth, continuously tracking — and providing quality fire control data — on multiple targets.


“It is clear that our partner Raytheon’s radar has far surpassed the decades-old, 20th-century gallium arsenide radar technology being proposed by the MEADS development project,” said Harald Mannheim, Rheinmetall’s Senior Vice President and Head of Air Defence Programmes Germany. “Raytheon’s AESA GaN technology is capable, mature and ideally suited for the needs of the German Air Force.”


Rheinmetall and Raytheon have a strategic teaming agreement, providing a full spectrum integrated air defense solution for the German Air Force.


“Our partner Raytheon is able to rapidly deliver this capability, ensuring that Germany will have the ability to defend its forces from threats in any direction, even, if required for the upcoming Baltic deployment in 2023 in support of NATO operations,” Mannheim added.


The Raytheon-funded GaN-based AESA radar will work with the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System and other open architectures. It maintains compatibility with the current Patriot Engagement Control Station and is full interoperability with NATO systems, such as the German SAMOC.

G/ATOR Block II Radar Fielded to Artillery Marines, Headed Towards Full-Rate Production

The Marine Corps fielded its first AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) Block II system to a Marine artillery regiment this month, after having early successes last year with the G/ATOR Block I radars in the air defense community.


The G/ATOR comes in two distinct software variants: Block I conducts air defense and surveillance missions for aviation command and control squadrons, and Block II targets the source of incoming artillery and other ground-based fires.


The 11th Marine Regiment, an artillery unit under 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, has had two radar systems with the Block II counter-fire and target acquisition capability since last July and has been helping with a field user evaluation and other testing, John Karlovich, G/ATOR program manager, told USNI News in an interview. In the fall they helped the Marines complete initial operational test and evaluation for G/ATOR Block II, and with this month’s decision to go to early deployment, 11th Marines should get another two radars for a total of four.


Sgt. Adam Augeson, an aviation radar technician with MACS-1 in Yuma, Ariz., noting that the G/ATOR auto-levels to compensate for being on uneven terrain. “It’s ability to move – we can set up and tear down in under an hour, so we can basically go from one site, radiate for a few hours and then move site – the ability to move the radar is probably the biggest impact that we have with that system.”


Lt. Col. James Thompson, the military deputy for the G/ATOR program office,noted that, though the hardware for the Block I and Block II radars are identical, the missions are so different that the aviation community and ground community are learning to use the radar separately and have not been sharing many lessons learned.


Karlovich said the two radars in the Lot 1 contract and the four in Lot 2 are the only units to use the Gallium Arsenide conductor, and those will be the one each to MACS-1 and MACS-2 and the four to 11th Marines. Lots 3, 4 and 5 are low-rate initial production contracts on the upgraded Gallium Nitride conductor, and those are in production now. Lot 6 will be the full-rate production contract that the program office has been working on with builder Northrop Grumman for about three years; Karlovich said that Lot 6 will be the only full-rate production contract and will buy the remaining 30 radars in the program, with a plan to buy six in Fiscal Year 2019 and eight a year from 2020 to 2022.


Karlovich compared the transition from the AN/TPS-63 to the AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR to moving from a rotary phone to a cell phone, with the ability to not only do more but also tap into networks and share data in a way the legacy system could not.


Much like a cell phone with apps that can be added to increase capability, Karlovich said G/ATOR could have software packages added to increase its own capability and survivability, which he said would be a key focus of the program office going forward. That’s what we’re doing, we’re adding enhanced capability on top of that base – and so we’re doing, there’s things for survivability, there’s electronic protects, decoys,” he said, as well as joint service upgrades to protect against evolving cyber threats.


Operational Impact

The G/ATOR provides the US Marine Corp with a single multi-mission radar capable of performing the tasks of five legacy radars. This reduces the operation and maintenance costs as well as ensuring a modern capability. The system is highly mobile and highly transportable by a variety of vehicles.


G/ATOR satisfies the warfighter’s expeditionary needs across the Marine Air-Ground Task Force spectrum replacing five legacy radar systems with a single solution and augments the AN/TPS-59 long-range radar. The five Marine Corps legacy radar systems being replaced by this multi-function capability include: 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). Additionally, it will augment the AN/TPS-59 long-range radar.


The MAGTF Commander will employ G/ATOR within the Air Combat Element (ACE) and the Ground Combat Element (GCE). Within the ACE, G/ATOR will provide enhanced situational awareness and additional capabilities to conduct short-medium range radar surveillance and air defense. Within the GCE G/ATOR will provide ground weapons locating capability for counterbattery and counter-fire missions.


G/ATOR provides real-time radar measurement data to the Common Aviation Command and Control System, Composite Tracking Network, and Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System. This system can augment sea-based air defense sensors and C2 capabilities and provide naval and joint forces with an expeditionary radar and cruise missile detection capability that extends landward battle space coverage.


The Army is coordinating with the Marine Corps to integrate the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) with the Integrated Air and Missile Defense program, a sign of new confidence by the Army that its $7.9 billion IAMD program — beset two years ago by a string of serious developmental setbacks and schedule delays — has turned a corner and is “on track” for fielding in 2022 or sooner.


Col. Philip Rottenborn, project manager for Integrated Air and Missile Defense in the program executive office for missiles and space, disclosed these developments in a Jan. 7 response to reporters’ questions about the Integrated Battle Command System — the IAMD common integrated-fire control element that provides the functional capabilities to control and manage the IAMDS sensors and shooters.


The addition of the Marine Corps’ AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR radar would mark an expansion of the baseline IBCS capability, which integrates Patriot radars and launchers with Sentinel radars, and builds on the design of the system which is intended to allow the Army to plug in compatible sensors.


Incorporating GaN technology makes the radar more efficient and advanced than other radars.


G/ATOR System

G/ATOR is comprised of three major subsystems: the Radar Equipment Group (REG), Communications Equipment Group (CEG) and Power Equipment Group (PEG). The REG is an integrated radar and trailer combination towed behind a Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR). The CEG is a communications and radar control systems transported in the armored M1152A1 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. The PEG is a pallet assembly containing a 60-kilowatt generator, cables and ancillary equipment transported on the bed of the MTVR.


G/ATOR provides real-time radar measurement data to the Tactical Air Operations Module, Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S), Composite Tracking Network, and Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System.


Main characteristics

Multipurpose Tracking & Surveillance Radar

Proven S-band (2–4 GHz), X-Band 3D Radar

Detects fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, cruise missiles, and UAVs

Performs ATC and fire finder roles

High mobility, transportability, and reliability

The entire system can be airlifted into an operational site by three CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopters or MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, or by a single C-130 transport.

The system is required to be set up on-site within 45 minutes.

Provides identification of friendly aircraft using a Telephonics UPX-44 IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) integrated with the main radar





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