Thales Ground Master 400 Alpha

Thales Ground Master 400 Alpha. Thales

SHAH ALAM: IT appears that the single long range air surveillance radar which LOI was announced at LIMA 2023 is the Thales Ground Master 400 Alpha. The identity of the radar was released on June 19 when Thales announced the contract for 13 GM 400 Alpha radars for Indonesia (see below).

From the original post.

Thales of France. RM170.6 million for one unit of 3D air defence long range radar complete with ancillary equipment, associated support and design and build of infrastructure. At the ceremony it was not announced what radar it will be but it is likely to be the Thales GM403, a variant of the same one already in service with RMAF at Kota Samarahan, Sarawak.

The LOI covers the same solution as the contract with Indonesia; Thales providing the radar and its command-and-control system while the local partner will construct the infrastructure. It is unclear which company will work with Thales to build the infrastructure though.

It is also likely both the Malaysian and Indonesia version will have a different designation as with the GM403 mentioned above. Industry sources told Malaysian Defence that radars from Thales and Indra of Spain were shortlisted for the tender for the single long surveillance radar which was published in June 2021 and closed on August the same year.

The sources said the Thales radar was chosen as it is a new variant of the radar already operating at Kota Samarahan, Sarawak. RMAF has been looking to fund for three radars initially but only one was funded, the one that Thales had the LOI for. Thankfully, the US had stepped in by donating a single radar which had been announced will be sited on Labuan island.

Malaysian Defence was told that Mitsubishi of Japan was interested in taking part in the tender but in the end back out from participating to reasons. It of course got the contract to supply the same radars for the Philippines

The release from Thales:

PT Len Industri has ordered 13 Ground Master 400 Alpha long-range air surveillance radars with the associated SkyView Command and Control system to strengthen Indonesian airspace sovereignty, creating a bubble of airspace protection.
The airspace protection system installed across the Indonesian archipelago will enable Indonesia’s armed forces to benefit from a single air picture integrating the detection of all types of threats, from jets and missiles to hovering helicopters and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), contributing to early detection of threats.
The transfer of production of certain components will enhance PT Len’s radar expertise and knowledge, as well as position PT Len as the radar centre of excellence for Indonesia.
Today, GM 400 Alpha is one of the world’s best-selling combat proven long-range air surveillance radars, contributing to airspace protection worldwide with more than 80 radars from the GM400 family sold to 19 nations. This selection confirms the success of GM radars in South East Asia.
This contract will span the next few years with Thales building the radars and Command and Control solution and PT Len constructing the radar stations, providing the installation and integration of the systems including managing civil works for the programme, supported by Thales. PT Len will manufacture certain components of the radars locally, building local indigenous capabilities, contributing towards Indonesia’s strengthening of local defence industry.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

10 Comments

  1. ID is building their network centric. They are in progress acquiring AEWC and military satelite too.
    In 10 years they can buy 5th gen fighter.

  2. It is interesting to note that the Japanese radar were much cheaper than than Thales one. Based on the contract for the Philippine radar, the average radar cost were usd25 million each, while Thales one is usd37 million. Seems the bean counters doesn’t always choose the cheapest option anymore (well that is also evident in LCS and Gempita long ago)

  3. They bought it together with the infrastructure costs. As the Japanese radar was not entered into the tender, it supposed lower cost does not enter the picture. I was told the reason why they decided not to bid for the contract but it is not meant for public forum.

  4. I really can’t fathom how our defence procurement works. If the user say they need three, how can the politicians decide they only need one?

    Last time we really had a PM who was also a defence expert who said our hornets are good only for shows as we don’t have the source code. Dang.

  5. @Marhalim I see. Thank you for the extra info. Given that this RMK we are receiving 2 new radars, will the next radar procurement be started next RMK? Any idea where should the supposedly 3rd radar be located if it was approved? I am guessing it would be the Gong Badak or Kuching

  6. No idea yet whether funding will be made available for the third radar. If funded it is likely it will be either the one in JB or near Kuantan as both are really old ones

  7. From what we know, the 2 new radar will be
    – TPS-77 MRR in Labuan, replacing a radar currently there
    – Ground Master 400 Alpha in Bintulu, which is a new location.

    Oldest radar we currently use is the early 90s Martello S-743, all located in the east coast of semenanjung. We have no more 80s or 70s radars.

    Radar in Johor is the Leonardo RAT-31 SL/E which is much more newer (1996) than the Martello (1992).

    Even if we buy additional new radars, IMO the RAT-31 SL/E can still be used and relocated to a new location (additional location in East Sabah or the west coast of semenanjung)

    In the CAP55, it is outlined that TUDM needs a total of 9x ground-based radar. By buying another radar, and not retiring any current ones, TUDM will get the numbers that is outlined in the CAP55 plan. After getting the numbers, the next step is to replace the Martellos.

  8. I don’t think it’s a case of the user needing three radars and the politicians deciding that they only need one.

    It’s more likely that Mindef asked for 3 radars, but MOF said ‘we only have the budget for 1 radar this year. For the second radar, you put the request in next year’s budget. For the third one, in the following year’s budget.’

  9. … – “all located in the east coast of semenanjung. We”

    Really? What primary search radar’s in the east coast apart from the one at Kuantan?

    Most of the narrative is always on primary search radars; often overlooked are secondary/ATC radars which also have a search function and tend to be used more extensively. Kuantan received a new Czech sourced ATC radar and in the early 2000’s we got a pair of American made mobile ones.

    … – “IMO the RAT-31 SL/E can still be used and relocated”

    Irrespective of your opinion it depends on the state of the radar and if it can be economically sustained for a bit longer it will not be prematurely retired.

    h – “It’s more likely that Mindef asked for 3 radars, but MOF said ‘we only have the budget for 1 radar this year”

    That’s indeed the case.

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