Denmark and Netherlands join forces to purchase 5 Thales GM200 MM/C mobile radar systems

On October 30, 2023, the Danish Ministry of Defence's Material and Procurement Agency (FMI) formally entered into an agreement with the Dutch Ministry of Defence to acquire five new Ground Master 200 Multi Mission/Compact (GM200 MM/C) mobile radar systems manufactured by Thales. The procurement process is structured as a Government-to-Government agreement between Denmark and the Netherlands, ensuring an expedited delivery schedule for these crucial radar systems.
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The Ground Master 200 Multi Mission/Compact (GM200 MM/C), manufactured by Thales, can be mounted on an 8x8 military truck. (Picture source: Denmark MoD)

The official signing of this agreement for five new Multi Mission Radars (MMR) was conducted by General Lieutenant Kim Jesper Jørgensen, the head of FMI, and Vice Admiral Jan Willem Hartman, the chief of the Dutch Materiel and IT Command (Commando Materieel en IT or COMMIT). These radar systems, equipped with advanced capabilities, are designated for use in Denmark's airspace surveillance operations.

General Lieutenant Kim Jesper Jørgensen expressed his appreciation for this significant procurement and satisfaction with the acquisition of advanced mobile radar systems for airspace surveillance. These systems are considered essential, particularly in light of ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Israel. The decision to acquire these radar systems through collaboration with the Dutch military is seen as a positive step, ensuring faster delivery at a competitive price. This acquisition reflects Denmark's transition to more agile procurement methods, aligning with the Netherlands, a close ally, rather than relying on traditional, time-consuming acquisition processes.

Vice Admiral Jan Willem Hartman also emphasized the importance of international cooperation in defense matters, particularly among smaller European countries. He highlighted the acquisition of Multi Mission Radars (MMR) as an example of how allies can strengthen their defense capabilities by employing interoperable equipment. The fact that Denmark and the Netherlands will have identical configurations for these GM200 MM/C radar systems enhances future cooperation in terms of updates and support.

In the context of the Danish Defense, the Air Force will utilize these radar systems for monitoring aircraft within national airspace. In other countries, such as the Netherlands, the radar systems will serve purposes like artillery ranging, involving the detection of enemy artillery shells and the determination of the positions of hostile cannons responsible for firing those shells. In Denmark, these newly acquired mobile radar systems will complement the existing inventory of large stationary radars, enhancing surveillance in Danish airspace, particularly at lower altitudes, and improving the detection capabilities for various aerial assets, including aircraft, helicopters, drones, and missiles.

The procured radar systems, the GM200 MM/C, are equipped with advanced software and can perform a variety of surveillance tasks. Designed for flexibility and mobility, the GM200 MM/C is delivered within a standard 20" container frame, allowing for deployment on the ground or mounting on military vehicles. Their agility and rapid deployment capabilities enable quick relocation to different positions as needed. These new radar systems are intended to replace the Defense Forces' current mobile RAC-3D radar systems and the air surveillance components of the Scanter 4000 radar systems.

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The Thales GM200 MM/C has an instrumented range exceeding 400 km, with the ability to detect targets at a minimum range of less than 500 m. (Picture source: Denmark MoD)

The Ground Master 200 Multi Mission/Compact (GM200 MM/C) is a radar system developed by Thales, including the Thales 4D AESA radar family, which comprises modules like NS50, NS100, NS200, and others. This software-defined radar system can be upgraded throughout its entire life cycle to adapt to evolving needs.

The GM200 MM/C focuses on target detection and tracking, automatically identifying rockets, artillery, mortars, missiles, aircraft, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). It can operate 24/7 in GPS and electronic warfare-denied environments. Additionally, the system is designed to be cyber resilient and capable of withstanding cyber threats. Interoperability with NATO secret networks enhances its data-sharing capabilities.

One of its features is the dual-axis multi-beam Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar design, which simultaneously scans beams in azimuth and elevation. This allows for optimal fire support and situational awareness, offering improved performance in target detection, tracking, classification, and weapon support compared to traditional radar systems.

The GM200 MM/C is a software-defined radar, enabling flexible waveform generation for different transmission needs and optimized performance in both rotating and staring modes of operation. Its design is meant to be future-proof, allowing for reprogramming to introduce new capabilities to meet evolving customer requirements without requiring a major overhaul.

The radar system is designed for transportability, suitable for air, rail, road, and sea transport. It can be operated unmanned and remotely, reducing personnel exposure to potential threats. Independent of a prime mover (vehicle), the system can be swiftly deployed where needed. Standard interfaces facilitate integration into various military systems and operations.

The radar uses an Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) antenna and GaN transmitter technology. It has an instrumented range exceeding 400 km, with the ability to detect targets at a minimum range of less than 500 m. The GM200 MM/C can cover elevations of up to 80 degrees for priority tracking, making it suitable for high-altitude target tracking. Operating in the S-band frequency band, it includes an integrated IFF antenna supporting modes 5 and S. The system's reliability is evident in its impressive Mean Time Between Critical Failures (MTBCF), exceeding 2900 hours.

Last month, France pledged to supply three Thales GM200 radar systems to Armenia, as part of a collaboration between the two countries to strengthen Armenia's air defense capabilities.