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France to supply Thales Ground Master GM200 radar to Ukraine.

| 2023

According to, in the near future, France will transfer a Ground Master 200 (GM200) radar system to Ukraine, without specifying the model (MMA, MMC?). French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu wrote about this on social networks.
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Thales Ground Master GM 200 MMA radar on Renault Kerax 8x8 chassis (Picture source: Thales)

According to the head of the French Ministry of Defense, the cost of the system will be covered by a special fund. This transfer is intended to help Ukraine establish air defense against the backdrop of ongoing massive attacks by the Russian army on Ukrainian infrastructure. Earlier, France transferred Crotale rocket launchers and air defense systems to Ukraine.

In addition, France is going to purchase about 700 Aster-30 anti-aircraft missiles to equip SAMP/T air defense systems, which will also be delivered to Ukraine. The question arises of who will serve the equipment that is rather difficult to operate: the Ukrainian military cannot be trained quickly, and courses lasting several weeks are hardly capable of quickly producing qualified specialists in the field of air defense.

The complexity of some missions means that simply relying on long-range radars for an accurate situational awareness of the airspace may require additional resources. Whether to complement long-range radars in providing airspace protection behind masks or to provide Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) to deployed forces – or both – the Ground Master 200 (GM200) has established itself as the multi-mission medium-range radar of choice around the world.

Mind the airspace gap

Long-range radars are, by definition, capable of detecting and tracking threats at very long distances. While this is crucial for maintaining an accurate and up-to-date Recognised Air Picture (RAP), anything behind masks remains undetected. Such a surveillance gap could prove critical to Airspace Protection. Many Command and Control (C2) centers therefore also rely on Medium-Range Radars to fill this gap or take on this role.

Fast track from surveillance to air defense

If detecting, identifying and tracking a threat is essential to maintaining an accurate, up-to-date RAP, neutralizing that threat is crucial to retaining airspace sovereignty. Mid-range radars need to be able to acquire target information and feed it to the GBAD as accurately and quickly as possible to trigger the appropriate response.

The GM200 design detects and tracks simultaneously, low to high-altitude targets in all types of environments. Based on the successfully proven architecture of the GM400α, it provides air defense weapon coordination for Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) up to Short Range Air Defence (SHORAD) systems.

The Ground Master 200 establishes tracks faster and keeps them locked for longer, thus maximizing time on target. This gives units the time to evaluate the threat and take appropriate action. Because it makes full use of Thales's digital technology capabilities, it also manages to acquire smaller and slower targets.

At the core of Ground Master 200 is the technological legacy of the entire 4D AESA family products (NS100/200, Ground Master 200 Multi-Mission, SM400, SMART-L MM, Sea Fire and Ground Fire), the fruit of years of user experiences in operations by over 20 armed forces. It includes Thales' scalable and upgradable antenna architecture and software-defined radar technology that offers upgrade capacity over the whole life cycle. It also features "dual-axis multi-beam", which gives unrestricted steering flexibility in elevation and bearing.

The system is offered in two versions: an "all in one" for air surveillance and ground-based air defense up to the medium range, and a "compact" version scalable to specific missions like artillery Counter Battery and Weapon Locating. Both versions are very user-friendly, highly automated, and easy to transport. Notice that the Royal Netherlands Army / Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has signed the first contract for 9 Ground Master 200 Multi-Mission "compact", under the project 'Counter-Rocket Artillery Mortar and Class 1-UAV detection capacity'.

The "all in one" version, abbreviated GM200 MM/A, is mainly targeting Air Surveillance as well as Ground Based Air Defense operations up to entry-level Medium Range Air Defense (MRAD). It maintains the well-known Ground Master 200 integrated C2 shelter including the radar mast to gain elevation for low-level air surveillance and 2 operators on board.

The "compact" version, abbreviated GM200 MM/C, is a pallet version offering higher tactical mobility and quicker deployment as required by some specific missions like artillery Counter Battery and Weapon Locating. It also suits well Air Defense missions at very short or short range (VSHORAD/SHORAD) like its brother version, the Ground Master 200 Multi-Mission "all in one".

Highly mobile, the GM200 is an autonomous solution designed to fit the radar, a mast, a Power Generator Unit (PGU) and an operational cabin to accommodate two operators within a 20ft ISO shelter. Transportable on a truck and deployable for operations in 15 minutes, with a decamp time of 10 minutes, it provides operators with crucial asset survivability and are the key benefits of this radar.

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The GM200 is an autonomous solution designed to fit the radar, a mast, a Power Generator Unit (PGU) and an operational cabin to accommodate two operators within a 20ft ISO shelter (Picture source: Thales)

Key features

• S-band with GaN technology
• Extended detection range: 250 km surveillance mode/100km engagement mode
• Full-time 3D coverage from -7° to 70° in one rotation (3 seconds for surveillance, 1.5 seconds for engagement)
• Digital beam forming

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GM 200 MMC radar on Scania 6x6 chassis (Picture source: Thales)

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