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Estonian Air Surveillance Wing to get upgraded radars

Estonia is upgrading its GM 403 air surveillance radars (pictured above in operation in Estonia) (Thales-Raytheon Systems)

The Estonian Air Surveillance Wing (ASW) is upgrading its two Thales-Raytheon Systems Ground Master (GM) 403 long‐range air surveillance radars with a series of hardware and software updates, the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) announced on 18 July.

Priit Soosaar, Communications and Radar Category Manager for ECDI told Janes that, once upgraded, the systems will be able to automatically detect NATO aircraft and their detection range will also be substantially improved. Other technical improvements are classified, he noted.

Estonia and Finland have signed a joint procurement agreement to upgrade the radars, as Finland operates similar radar systems, the announcement stated.

The two parties subsequently awarded Thales an EUR11 million (USD 11 million) contract in May to upgrade the radars, Soosaar said. Thales will carry out the modernisation of the radars between 2022 and 2025, with the project formally starting in July, he noted.

In 2009, Estonia and Finland agreed to jointly procure a total of 14 3D medium-range air surveillance radar systems, two of which would be delivered to the Estonian Air Force.

Estonia has two GM 403 radars, the first of these, installed on Muhu Island in the Baltic Sea, was handed over in March 2013 and the second, based at the Tõika air force facility near Otepää in southeast Estonia, was handed over in January 2015.

The ASW, established on 1 January 1998, is one of two tactical units in the Estonian Air Force that is headquartered in the Ämari Air Base in Ämari.

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