Northrop Grumman [NOC] will soon begin the next system test phase for the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) system at the company’s antenna test facility.

This newest series of tests includes detailed verification that the G/ATOR’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) hardware will support all of the system’s multi-mission capabilities including counterfire target acquisition, air defense, weapons cueing and air traffic control. The tests are intended to demonstrate all required AESA functions including beam generation, steering and control, performance at fullrated power, operating bandwidth and automated array calibration techniques, the company said. Upon completion of this testing, this array will be integrated with the other G/ATOR components for systems level integration testing and subsequent environmental testing, Northrop Grumman added.

“Thorough testing of all aspects the second G/ATOR array will continue to demonstrate the mission functionality and versatility that the Marine Corps needs to fight in this modern battlespace,” Pat Newby, vice president of weapons and sensors for Northrop Grumman’s Land & Self-Protection Systems Division, said. “This series of tests builds on the successes already achieved in testing the first G/ATOR AESA, and will further confirm our commitment to top quality systems that offer our warfighting customers unprecedented operational capabilities.”

G/ATOR will provide the Marine Corps with a highly-mobile multi-mission radar with enhanced capabilities that replace five legacy Marine Corps ground-based radars, the company added.

Testing of the fully populated G/ATOR array, complete with all transmit/receive modules, radiating elements, prime power and distribution, radio frequency manifold, and associated control and processing electronics are taking place at the antenna test facility in Norwalk, Conn., according to Northrup Grumman.

This is the second G/ATOR array to undergo comprehensive testing. A prototype partial G/ATOR array was successfully tested last year at the Norwalk antenna facility, and expanded testing on that first radar array continues at the company’s engineering and manufacturing complex in Baltimore.

Northrop Grumman won G/ATOR and was placed on contract initially in September ’05. Shortly thereafter, Lockheed Martin [LMT], Raytheon [RTN] and Technovative Applications protested the service’s contract award.

In November ’05, the Marines issued a slightly modified request for proposal (RFP) and in March 2007, the Marine Corps again awarded G/ATOR to Northrop Grumman (Defense Daily, Nov. 6, 2008).

G/ATOR is a highly mobile multi-mission radar with enhanced capabilities that replaces five of the six Marine Corps ground-based radars, providing significant increases in operational capabilities as well as large reductions in operations and maintenance costs. G/ATOR is the first ground-based, multi-mission radar to be developed by the Department of Defense, Northrop Grumman said.