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G/ATOR - All-In-One Radar System
by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Julian Elliott-Drouin
August 26, 2020

Out with the old, in with the new. The U.S. Marine Corps presents a single source solution to its multi-role radar system and ground weapons locating radar requirements with the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar.

U.S. Marines with Marine Air Control Squadron 4, Marine Aircraft Group 36 set up the AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR radar system on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan on February 26, 2019. MACS-4 Marines train to effectively assemble and operate the G/ATOR, the first of its kind to be used in the Indo-Pacific region. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Leo Amaro)
U.S. Marines with Marine Air Control Squadron 4, Marine Aircraft Group 36 set up the AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR radar system on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan on February 26, 2019. MACS-4 Marines train to effectively assemble and operate the G/ATOR, the first of its kind to be used in the Indo-Pacific region. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Leo Amaro)

“The AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR will fill the void that the 59 will leave and enable Marine Air Control Squadron’s across the Marine Corps to accomplish their mission of command and control,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jeffery Tracy, a radar chief with Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS) 1.

The AN/TPS-59 radar system was fielded in 1985 and upgraded to (V)3 in 1998, by adding the TBM (Tactical Ballistic Missile) capability. “The AN/TPS-59(V)3 was used during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, providing both the MAGTF commander and the joint commander with a complete air picture to include fixed and rotary wing aircraft as well as theater ballistic missiles,” said Tracy.

The AN/TPS-59 has been used in various joint training operations throughout the pacific to include Australia, Thailand, South Korea, Tinian, Guam and the Philippines. With the Marine Corps upgrading its radar systems, the final decision was made in late 2019 to retire the AN/TPS-59 for the AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR.

The AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR’s primary function is air surveillance. It will allow Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commanders enhanced capabilities to detect and track adversary aircraft, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, rockets, mortars, artillery, and air traffic control functions.

“The AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR will provide us with a much more expeditionary asset, bringing setup and teardown to less than 30 minutes,” said Tracy. “The setup requires a crew of four Marines to accomplish while the AN/TPS-59 would require a crew of approximately 10 and range from four to eight hours for full setup and operation.”

Marines with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing will have a highly mobile, multipurpose tool that will help commanders track threats in the air and on the ground and will enhance the Marine Corps’ effectiveness and lethality on the battlefield.

3rd MAW continues to “Fix, Fly and Fight” as the Marine Corps’ largest aircraft wing, and remains combat-ready, deployable on short notice, and lethal when called into action.

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