Eurosatory 2016

Air surveillance on the move [ES2016D3]

15 June 2016

Thales has unveiled the latest member of its Ground Master air defence radar family. Drawing on technology from the larger Ground Master 200 and 400 radars, the Ground Master 60 multimission radar offers exceptional range in a fully mobile system that provides forces with a search on-the-move air picture capability.

Ground Master 60 is a self-contained radar system packaged with its own generator and air conditioning. The unit can be mounted on a variety of tactical vehicles, including 4x4s, allowing it to be moved around the battlefield. The system’s electronics are mounted on springs to dampen the effects of being driven over rough terrain.

At less than 4 tonnes weight, Ground Master 60 can also be positioned by helicopter, and the system can provide an air picture in about 10 minutes from being emplaced. Alternatively, the GM60 can be used in fixed roles, acting as a gap-filler, or perhaps to provide protection for larger fixed sites. Naturally the system can be fully networked into larger air defence systems.

GM60 employs a spinning AESA antenna rotating at 40rpm, which folds down flat for storage and transportation.

The radar employs stacked multibeam technology to provide 360° coverage from the horizon up to an elevation of 70°. The high Doppler performance makes it ideal for low, slow, small targets such as UAVs, and Thales reports excellent results against targets trying to hide in clutter, including in man-made environments. Range is quoted as 80km (50 miles).

While the Ground Master 60’s primary role is air defence, working with short-range gun and SHORAD missile defence weapons such as the infrared-guided Mistral, the radar also provides an excellent counter-rockets and mortars alert capability, providing a point-of-impact prediction for warning and point-of-origin information for counter-fire.

High reliability is another feature, with Thales claiming a 2,500 hours mean time between critical failures. Furthermore, it typically requires only about 30 hours of annual maintenance.

Although the radar is making its public debut at Eurosatory, the first contract for it was signed in 2010, and a number have already been delivered.

(341 words)