Northrop Grumman showcases new radar system that will aid Marines, secure area jobs

The new radar system combines the capabilities of five other radar devices.

Northrop Grumman showed off on Wednesday a new radar system it is producing for the Marine Corps that company officials said will secure jobs at the contractor's Linthicum Heights facility for years to come.

The AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar, or G/ATOR, was developed under a contract worth at least $2 billion from its start in 2007 through 2024, when Northop Grumman is expected to deliver the last of 45 radar systems.


Company executives and Marine leaders heralded the system, which combines the capabilities of five other devices, as a significant advancement in technology at an event showcasing the radar system for clients and media at the company's facility near Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

"It is unprecedented. It will change the way of the warfighter," said Roshan S. Roeder, vice president of global ground-based radar within Northrop Grumman's Land and Avionics C4ISR division.

The new system is also significant for Northrop Grumman, one of the state's largest employers and one that lawmakers have worked hard to keep.

Last year, Maryland agreed to a $57.5 million retention package for the aerospace giant that includes a $20 million forgivable loan. The loan will not have to be repaid if Northrop Grumman retains 10,000 jobs in the state and proves it spent $100 million buying facilities in the state.

The G/ATOR system will play an important role in ensuring employment for about 400 people for years to come at the contractor's Anne Arundel County facilities, said Mark Smith, director of business development for ground-based tactical radar within Northrop Grumman's Land and Avionics C4ISR division.

In addition to producing the radar system for the Marine Corps, Northrop Grumman has received inquiries from U.S. allies that might be interested in purchasing the radar, Smith said. The company could also develop new features and capabilities for military clients to use with the G/ATOR system.

"G/ATOR is and will continue to be a major contributor to full employment here," Smith said.

The G/ATOR system combines the capabilities of other radar devices, such as air traffic control, air surveillance and air defense.

From a test spot next to BWI, the G/ATOR system can detect aircraft almost as far north as New York City, Smith said.

It is also capable of detecting smaller targets, such as mortar rounds.

Northrop Grumman began production of the system earlier this year.

At the event Wednesday, Northrop Grumman also debuted a new mobile radar system based on technology already used in other products. The Highly Adaptable Multi-Mission Radar, or HAMMR, is light enough to be attached to the top of a vehicle.

Northrop Grumman developed a prototype model of the system for the military and is talking to potential clients about a production contract, company officials said.