Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $207m contract by the US Marine Corps (USMC) to begin low-rate initial production (LRIP) of AN/TPS-80 ground / air-task oriented radar (G/ATOR) systems.
The latest LRIP award follows the completion of comprehensive subsystem and system-level G/ATOR testing, which included one-year of developmental assessment, an official Marine Corps operational evaluation and the final detailed production readiness review.
As part of the formal US Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition process, the G/ATOR system achieved a milestone C in January, which allowed it to enter LRIP.
G/ATOR, the DoD's first ground-based, multimission active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, provides air surveillance, air defence, ground weapon positioning and air traffic control capabilities.
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Land and Self Protection Systems Division vice-president and general manager Jeffrey Palombo said: "G/ATOR will fundamentally change how the marines deploy and fight.
"Evidenced by the mission capabilities proven during operational testing, the marines will have an unprecedented degree of protection and situational awareness."
Deliveries under the contract from the Marine Corps Programme Executive Office for Land Systems are scheduled to be executed during 2016 to 2017.
Northrop is anticipating additional LRIP contracts for the new radar, followed by multiyear, full-rate production.
Furthermore, additional funding will be allocated for the integration of new software-based capabilities for the radar system, which could exceed $2bn.
Image: G/ATOR is the first ground-based AESA radar to be developed by the US Department of Defense. Photo: courtesy of the Northrop Grumman Corp.