Marines are expected to field a new radar system in 2018 that will replace five existing systems, a capability that’s been in development for a decade.

Six of the units were delivered to Marine units for testing and evaluation in 2017. The vehicle-towed Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar, known as the G/ATOR system, has software capable of air defense and surveillance and ground weapons tracking.

The G/ATOR system provides a “modern sensor” that can be used in a high-end fight down to the Marine ­Expeditionary Unit level, said Col. ­Matthew Culbertson, Headquarters Marine Corps Department of Aviation.

The system can detect and track targets including manned or unmanned aircraft, cruise missiles and projectiles as small as mortars or as large as artillery and rockets.

G/ATOR has a radar antenna and rotating drive system that mounts on a towable trailer. It provides 360-degree scanning and if it detects a threat, it can send a beam to track that threat while it continues scanning other parts of the battlefield, according to a Marine release.

The system will eventually replace the TPS-63 air defense; TPS-73 air traffic control; MPQ-62 short-range air defense; TPQ-46 counter-fire target acquisition and UPS-3 target tracking radar systems.

It can be transported by the CH-53E Super Stallion, MV-22B Osprey or the C-130 cargo plane.

Marines are expected to acquire 17 systems in 2018 and 28 systems in the following year.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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