Artillery Marines’ New Radar Brings the Distance on the Battlefield

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March 26, 2019 | Originally published by Date Line: March 26 on

G/ATOR, an expeditionary, three-dimensional medium-range radar system, is being developed and fielded in three blocks that will support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force across the range of its capabilities. 

Block 1—which began fielding a year ago—provides air defense and surveillance capabilities; Block 2 supports MAGTF counter-fire and counterbattery missions; and Block 4—a future iteration—will provide expeditionary airport surveillance radar capabilities to the MAGTF.

“This system is going to enhance the Marine Corps’ capability to do the functions of counter fires and air defense,” said Lt. Col. James Thompson, military deputy for operations in the G/ATOR program office. “On the ground side, the system is larger than the system they have now. But, it provides tremendous capabilities with better ranges and resolutions compared to the legacy system.”

Unlike other radar systems used across the Department of Defense, G/ATOR combines the capabilities previously provided by five different legacy radars, greatly enhancing the Marine Corps’ ability to perform various air defense and counter-fire functions. G/ATOR Block 2 provides Marines with ground weapons-locating capabilities for counter battery and counter-fire missions, replacing the AN/TPQ-46 fire-finder ground weapons locating radar. Artillery Marines will gain enhanced capabilities enabling them to locate and identify indirect fire weapons, such as mortars, artillery and rockets.

“The capabilities of the G/ATOR are way better than the systems of the [AN/TPQ] 46,” said Sgt. Robert Huber, a Marine with the target acquisition platoon, counter battery radar, with the 11th Marine Regiment. “The G/ATOR system multiplies the capabilities of the 46, so we can much more effectively use the radar in combat or in whatever scenario we’ll be deploying it in.”