Dr. Thomas Withington – The Dutch Army will receive new ground-based air surveillance radars in 2021, allowing the force to retire several legacy systems.
Thales is expected to commence deliveries of its GM-200 Multi-Mission/Compact (GM-200MM/C) S-band (2.9 gigahertz/GHz to 3.3GHz) ground-based air surveillance radars to the Koninklijke Landmacht (Royal Dutch Army) by 2021, officials from the firm revealed to Armada. The radar has an instrumented range of 220 nautical miles (400 kilometres). It employs an Active Electronically Scanned Array antenna which uses Gallium Nitride (GaN) in the radar’s Transmit/Receive (T/R) modules. Compared to legacy Gallium Arsenide-based T/R modules, GaN improves the transmitter’s efficiency. The radar can be used in a rotating and staring fashion.
Thales officials continued that the radar uses micro-Doppler processing to enhance its drone detection capabilities. Modern radars exploit the Doppler Effect by which a moving object will shift the frequency of the returned radar echo compared to the frequency of the original radar transmission. This is because the echoes can take longer or shorter to return to the radar depending on whether the object is moving towards or away from the latter. Micro-Doppler processing exploits the fact that some objects will have components which will reflect echoes with an additional Doppler shift because these components are moving. Examples include an aircraft’s spinning propellers or the rotor blades of a helicopter. In the context of the counter-drone task, the radar will detect the Doppler shift in the echoes returned from the drone and the micro-Doppler shift caused by the drone’s spinning rotors allowing it to classify and track the object.
The Dutch Army will receive nine GM-200MM/Cs. Thales anticipates first deliveries in 2021 when the army is expected to declare an initial operational capability. A full operational capability could be declared in 2022, Thales officials continued.