Marine Corps asks Northrop Grumman to provide gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor material for G/ATOR radar

Nov. 20, 2019
The G/ATOR radar helps protect Marines on attack beaches from rockets, artillery, mortars, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

QUANTICO MARINE BASE, Va. – U.S. Marine Corps surveillance experts are ordering extra supplies of radar semiconductor materials to plug a potential manufacturing gap for the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR).

Officials of the Marine Corps Systems Command at Quantico Marine Base, Va., announced a $13 million order Tuesday to the Northrop Grumman Corp. Mission Systems segment in Linthicum, Md., to buy gallium nitride (GaN) full-rate production diminishing manufacturing sources and communications equipment for G/ATOR lot-one production.

The G/ATOR radar system is designed to protect Marines on attack beaches from rockets, artillery, mortars, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and other low-observable targets.

Related: Raytheon to enhance gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technologies for radar, RF and microwave

GaN is a binary direct bandgap semiconductor material. GaN transistors are suitable for high-frequency, high-voltage, high-temperature, and-high efficiency applications like active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems. This order also includes spares parts and retrofit kits.

Marine Corps leaders are developing and fielding the G/ATOR radar in three blocks for use by the Marine Air Ground Task Force across the range of military operations.

Northrop Grumman has designed and built G/ATOR for short-range air defense (SHORAD) and tactical air operations Center (TAOC) air surveillance missions, including identification friend-or-foe (IFF). The increment I design was to provide for growth to all following increments without equipment re-design and provide an open architecture to enable upgrades with following increments.

Related: RF Micro Devices qualifies gallium nitride fab to 65-volt operation to support civil and military radar

The G/ATOR program was to showcase new component technologies, including the VPX embedded computing fast switch-fabric interconnect. As part of the G/ATOR program's first increment, Northrop Grumman awarded a $4.3 million contract in 2008 to the Curtiss-Wright Corp. Defense Solutions segment in Ashburn, Va., for VPX-based embedded computers for radar signal processing, to be delivered by 2010.

The Ground Weapons Locating Radar (GWLR) portion of G/ATOR uses AESA radar technology to provide several different radar missions and adapt automatically to changing battlefield conditions.

On this order Northrop Grumman will do the work in Work will be performed in Baltimore, and should be finished by May 2022. For more information contact Northrop Grumman Mission Systems online at, or Marine Corps Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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