Armenia buys three Thales Ground Master 200 radar systems

As reported by Armenpress on October 24, 2023, France has announced its support for Armenia's efforts to enhance its air defense capabilities through the sale of three Ground Master 200 (GM200) radar systems and an agreement for the future delivery of Mistral anti-air missiles. This collaboration also includes French support for training Armenia's ground defense forces, establishing a robust air defense system, and assistance in the ongoing process of military reform and modernization.
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The Ground Master 200 radar system can be mounted on an 8x8 military truck to enhance its mobility (Picture source: Thales)

The collaboration between the two countries was disclosed on October 24, 2023, during a joint news conference held in Paris by French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu and Armenia's Defense Minister Suren Papikyan. Even though the two nations are not part of the same military and political alliances, during the press conference, Lecornu emphasized the importance of protecting national airspace, and that every nation should have the ability to defend itself.

The Ground Master 200 radar systems, manufactured by the French defense company Thales, have also been supplied to Georgia in 2015 and Ukraine in 2023. It is designed to carry out multiple missions simultaneously, including air and surface surveillance, target designation for GBAD systems, and the detection and warning of rocket, artillery, and mortar threats. The radar could also detect low-flying, small, and slow-moving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The system is designed for uninterrupted operation with a 24-hour autonomy package, ensuring continuous surveillance. It also includes a certified Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system with Mode 5 certification, which enhances situational awareness and reduces the risk of misidentification in complex air defense scenarios.

The Ground Master 200 excels in detection performance, enabling it to track a wide range of threats simultaneously, such as aircraft, missiles, vessels, UAVs, and helicopters with different profiles. It boasts sensors tailored for Ground-Based Air Defense (GBAD) systems and an 8-meter-high antenna, providing a clear view and extended time-on-target, while minimizing interference.

Deployment and operation are made easy with this system, which comes in a single 20-foot ISO package and features a truck-mounted configuration, allowing rapid deployment within 15 minutes. It can be operated by just two personnel with minimal training.

The system offers easy integration into existing command and control (C2) and GBAD systems, as it is already integrated with more than 10 such systems worldwide. It includes a Health Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) and predictive maintenance features, ensuring operational reliability, and it is supported in 25 countries, indicating its international compatibility. The Ground Master 200 has demonstrated its effectiveness in various operational theaters, including extreme climate conditions, with over 60 systems deployed.

In terms of its detection capabilities, the radar covers a surveillance range of up to 250 km and an engagement range of 100 km. It can detect and track targets at altitudes of up to 80,000 feet (24,384 m) with an elevation coverage of 70 degrees, and it tracks targets with speeds ranging from 15 to 1,200 m per second.

Key technical features include the utilization of Gallium-Nitride S-Band technology for radar performance, a rapid update rate, digital stacked beam technology, and full Doppler waveforms for precise tracking. It also includes a windfarm filter to reduce interference from wind turbine clutter and features cybersecurity measures to secure the system. The Mean Time Between Critical Failures (MTBCF) is up to 3,000 hours, with a Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) of 30 minutes, highlighting its operational reliability.