VPX embedded computer not to blame for $14 million cost overrun in Marine Corps G/ATOR radar system

LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md., 19 Nov. 2009. The U.S. Marine Corps mobile air-defense radar surveillance system called the Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) has had a $14 million cost overrun, but these unanticipated added costs have had nothing to do with VPX embedded computing, for which G/ATOR is an early adopter, say officials of G/ATOR developer Northrop Grumman Corp.

Posted by John Keller

LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md., 19 Nov. 2009. The U.S. Marine Corps mobile air-defense surveillance radar system called the Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) has had a $14 million cost overrun, but these unanticipated added costs have had nothing to do with VPXembedded computing, for which G/ATOR is an early adopter (see orginal story), say officials of G/ATOR radar system developer Northrop Grumman Corp.

Engineers at the Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems segment in Linthicum, Md., are designing G/ATOR radar technology with VITA 46 VPX embedded computer technology with high-speed serial interconnects from Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing in Leesburg, Va. Curtiss-Wright is providing VPX-based radar signal processing subsystems under terms of a $4.3 million contract awarded from Northrop Grumman in March, 2008.

The G/ATOR ground radar cost overruns, reported last October in Pentagon contracting documents, were due primarily to additional capability added during the past four years, and to unexpected developments like the rising cost of gold, which makes advanced electronic connectors for the military radar more expensive, explains Mark Smith, business development director for tactical radars at Northrop Grumman.

The overruns "really didn't have anything to do with the VPX computing," Smith told Military & Aerospace Electronics in an exclusive interview today. "We have a close relationship with our processor suppliers, and we chose the Curtiss-Wright processor for its capability and growth."

The primary cause of the cost overrun to the G/ATOR system is "additional scope of effort," Smith explains, not because of anything to do with the VPX computing supplied by Curtiss-Wright.

The mobile G/ATOR will provide enhanced capabilities to detect, track, and provide target-quality data to enable Marine Corps expeditionary forces to detect and destroy enemy aircraft, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

G/ATOR is an expeditionary Humvee-based gap-filler radar that provides 3-D of areas out of view of the AN/TPS-59 (V) 3 radar system, and is intended to replace the AN/ TPS-63 and AN/MPQ-62 radars.

The primary mission of the G/ATOR is to locate mortar, artillery, and rocket threats and provide location information to counter-fire weapons.

For more information contact Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems online at www.es.northropgrumman.com, or Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing at www.cwcembedded.com.

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