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Netherlands retires 52-year-old air surveillance radar

The GM400α radar from Thales is replacing the MPR (pictured) in Nieuw Milligen while the new Herwijnen radar station is fitted with the long-range SMART-L Multi-Mission/Fixed system. (Netherlands Ministry of Defence )

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) has retired its 52-year-old Medium Power Radar (MPR) based in Nieuw Milligen, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 2 April.

The MPR in Nieuw Milligen has been in service since 1971, supporting the RNLAF Nieuw Milligen air operations control station (AOCS) with air surveillance and early warning.

One of NATO's Lanza 3D Deployable Air Defence Radars (DADRs), developed by Indra, is providing basic coverage while the MPR system is replaced with the Ground Master 400 Alpha (GM400α) radar from Thales, due to be installed by the end of July.

The GM400α radar is also supposed to be a temporary replacement until the new radar station in Herwijnen is installed with the SMART-L Multi-Mission/Fixed (MM/F) radar. The MoD is unsure whether the Nieuw Milligen radar station will continue functioning once Herwijnen is operational from 2026.

Once operational, Herwijnen will monitor the southern regions of the Netherlands, while the radar station in Wier, which is already fitted with the SMART-L MM/F, covers the northern regions.

SMART-L MM/F is a land variant of the naval SMART-L 3D active electronically scanned array (AESA) multibeam air and surface surveillance and target designation radar. Two MM/F systems, integrated with a ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability and a space object surveillance mode, were procured by the MoD to improve the RNLAF's ability to detect new threats such as low-flying unmanned systems and ballistic missiles.

For more information on the SMART-L series of radars, please see SMART-L multibeam radar.

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