French defence systems giant Thales has been awarded a contract by the Bangladesh Army for local warning radars intended to be operated by Air Defence Artillery brigade level formations.
The Bangladesh Army advertised a tender for Local Warning Radar (LWR) systems on 14 March 2018. Three models from European countries were shortlisted by the Army Headquarters to supply two complete mobile radar systems.
Companies including Hensoldt Sensors GmbH (Germany) with TRML-3D/32, Leonardo Land & Naval Defence Electronics Spa with Kronos Land (Italy) and Thales LAS with Ground Master 200 (France) participated in the bid.
Leonardo’s Kronos Land radar already won the Bangladesh Air Force’s requirement for mobile air surveillance radar systems however Thales recently developed a strong working relationship with the Bangladesh Army after the company supplied sophisticated electronic warfare and communications equipment. At the end Thales won the tender and will initially supply two GM 200 radar systems according to the Bangladesh Army’s requirements.
About the Ground Master 200
The Ground Master 200 is a medium range radar of the Thales Ground Master family. It is based on the same architecture as the long range Ground Master 400 radar.
The Ground Master 200 is capable of air surveillance, air defence, weapon locating and even surface surveillance operations.
It is highly mobile and fully autonomous with the radar unit comprising in its 20ft ISO shelter, which fits a mast, a power generator unit, operational cabin with room for two operators. The Ground Master 200 can be setup in less than 9 minutes for first detection. Its emplacement/displacement is 15 minutes and 10 minutes respectively.
The radar operates under S band frequency and can detect a maximum of 400 targets. It has a maximum range of 250 km and can cover an altitude of 25,000 m. A light fighter with an RCS of 1m2 can be detected from 110 km with a detection probability of 80%.
The Ground Master 200 has a full array of ECCM capability including jamming detection, frequency agility, automatic jamming mode, avoidance circuitry, coherent side lobe cancellation and side lobe blanking. It has options to counter anti-radiation missiles with wide-band frequency agility, narrow beam (pencil beam) and sector blanking adjustability.
The radar is also compatible with the Bangladesh Air Force’s own IFF system and is connected to the command post, other radar or centres via fiber optic Ethernet, VHF/HF radios and data (using radio systems).
The gross weight of the radar system and Renault Truck Defence KERAX 8×8 truck is 25,018 kg.
The radar and truck are to be supplied in MB Green colour.
Defence cooperation with France
The French Defence Minister Florence Parly visited Dhaka on 10 March 2020 to enhance defence cooperation between Bangladesh and France. Her government has offered the Bangladesh Armed Forces all out cooperation in the field of defence and aerospace.
Thales was the prime contractor for Bangladesh’s first satellite in space, the Bangabandu-I and is likely be selected to also develop the Bangabandhu-II satellite for Bangladesh as well. France is keen to supply the Bangladesh Air Force with Rafale twin-engine fighter aircraft as well as unmanned combat aerial vehicles according to defence officials familiar with the matter.
With the acquisition of the Ground Master 200 medium range air surveillance radar it is more and more looking like the Bangladesh Army will opt for mostly Western origin air defence missile systems.
The Aster 15 and Aster 30 from MBDA would be the most likely candidates that can be easily integrated in to the Bangladesh armed forces air defence network. At present the Bangladesh Army uses Chinese supplied FM-90C SHORADS, which are essentially based off French-made Crotale systems.
The Army also purchased Rheinmetall’s GDF-009 anti-aircraft guns and Saab RBS-70NG man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems for VSHORADS. Initial deliveries for both systems have already been completed.