Northrop Grumman’s AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) programme has received authorisation to enter into low-rate initial production.

The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research Development and Acquisition approved the G/ATOR programme at a Department of Defense acquisition event known as Milestone C.

Northrop Grumman land and self protection systems division vice president and general manager Jeffrey Palombo said that G/ATOR operational capabilities which fundamentally change how the Marine Corps detects, tracks and engages a broad range of target sets.

"This radar system joins the proud family of Northrop Grumman offerings for domestic and global customers for medium and long-range ground-based radars for multiple mission requirements. It’s the most mature S-Band AESA, air-cooled ground radar system," Palombo added.

"The benefit of open architecture design and the ability to scale the system technology permits this product line to meet a multitude of ground and ship-based radar missions and capabilities."

The system has undergone intense tests and environmental conditions over the past year to demonstrate its ability to provide enhanced situational awareness against a variety of platforms, including fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and unmanned autonomous systems.

The approval follows successful completion of developmental testing and operational assessment in 2013 and a formal Marine Corps production readiness review.

The system was subjected to a broad range of operational conditions. Developmental testing was carried out in both the littoral environment at the Surface Combat Systems Center in Wallops Island, Virginia, as well as in desert and mountain environments at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona.

Defence Technology