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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

25 February 2015

Thales promoting its latest radar series at IDEX 2015

Thales is promoting its latest radar series at this year’s International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) with particular emphasis on the Middle East market, company officials have revealed.

Speaking to Military Technology at the show in Abu Dhabi, UAE on 24 February, a Thales spokesperson described how the company was focusing on potential requirements in the region, especially concerning maritime situation awareness.

Unveiled at the Euronaval exhibition in Paris last year, Thales’s Searchmaster airborne multi-role surveillance radar was unveiled to the Middle East market with particular emphasis being made to five mission sets including anti-surface warfare; anti-submarine warfare; maritime surveillance; ground surveillance and mapping; and air tactical support operations.

More specifically, in a ground surveillance and mapping mode, the Searchmaster’s Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) capabilities would provide mission critical situation awareness for special operations forces (SOF) tasks- a concept of operation which has proven invaluable to such specialist units performing missions in Africa, South Central Asia and the Middle East over recent years.

Furthermore, the radar is being marketed as a search and rescue capability, as well as protection against fast attack craft- a major threat in the region especially in the littoral environment.

The system-agnostic radar, which was derived from the radar technology of the Rafael fighter jet,  comprises an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna and weighs 77kg. Measuring just a metre in length, the radar has a maximum range of approximately 200nm and is capable of monitoring up to 1,000 tracks at any single point in time.

“The Searchmaster can be integrated on board any type of average maritime vessel as well as medium to high sized rotary wing platforms, UAVs and aerostats. It can be housed under the belly of an aircraft or in the nose,” he added.

However, due to disclosure issues, the spokesperson could only confirm that Thales was working on replying to several enquiries for “various” platforms in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the French Navy is preparing to take delivery of 18 Searchmaster radars for its maritime patrol aircraft with the first expected to fly towards the end of 2016. The Searchmaster radar will be made available to the international market in the same time period, it was added.

Thales is also actively marketing its Airborne Mission System for Maritime and Ground Surveillance (AMASCOS) in the Middle East. The product can be integrated into the Searchmaster radar.

“Demand for maritime surveillance and maritime patrol aircraft is growing as worldwide submarine fleets expand and as piracy and trafficking activities increase,” the spokesperson continued.

“ In parallel, illegal immigration and terrorism in unsecured areas are on the rise. Additionally, national sovereignty and security are posing the need for tighter control of desert and boarder regions, using outstanding airborne detection systems.

The solution is centred around a tactical command system which is capable of integrating sensor suites and communication nodes, including radar, IFF, AIS, EOIR, ELINT, SATCOM, data links, sonobuoys and even weapons, amongst others.

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