Euronaval: Thales Launches New Ultra-Compact Radar for HIL Guépard Helicopter

 In Land, Sea, Air, Forces & Capabilities

The AirMaster C has already been chosen for the French joint light heli­copter HIL Guépard that will equip the French Navy, Army and Air Force. According to Thales video, it seems like up to three anten­nas could be inte­grat­ed into this mil­i­tary ver­sion of the Airbus H160 heli­copter.

Thales Press Release

AirMaster C: the new ultra-compact radar from Thales

  • The AirMaster C is the latest air­borne sur­veil­lance radar from Thales and has a 30% lower SWaP (size, weight and power) than the other radars in its class.
  • The AirMaster C covers the full spec­trum of land, air and mar­itime sur­veil­lance mis­sions and offers state-of-the-art target detec­tion capa­bil­i­ties; it is the sub­ject of pre­lim­i­nary inte­gra­tion stud­ies on joint light heli­copter (Guépard) which are in progress.
  • Users ben­e­fit from inno­v­a­tive tech­nolo­gies, with a unique 2D AESA anten­na based on SiGe (sil­i­con-ger­ma­ni­um) tech­nol­o­gy, and cog­ni­tive and pre­dic­tive main­te­nance capa­bil­i­ties draw­ing on Thales’s and the French Armament General Directorate’s invest­ments in arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence.
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“Monitor, control and protect anywhere, across land, coastline, sea and airspace”

Threat detec­tion, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and sur­veil­lance mis­sions depend on a force’s abil­i­ty to oper­ate in any type of envi­ron­ment and all weath­er con­di­tions. Drawing on its expe­ri­ence with the suc­cess­ful Master series of radars, Thales has devel­oped a new, ultra-com­pact sur­veil­lance radar with enhanced target detec­tion capa­bil­i­ties for fixed-wing air­craft, heli­copters and UAVs. With its low inte­gra­tion and oper­at­ing costs and high avail­abil­i­ty and per­for­mance, the AirMaster C sets a new stan­dard for air­borne radars.

The nature of armed con­fronta­tion is con­stant­ly evolv­ing. From the intrastate con­flicts of the post-Cold War period to the asym­met­ric threats of the early 21st cen­tu­ry and, more recent­ly, the resur­gence of rival­ries between major powers, armed forces around the world must con­stant­ly adapt as they face dif­fer­ent types of adver­saries in a diverse array of envi­ron­ments: open ocean, coastal areas, remote deserts and urban spaces.

AirMaster C: a concentrate of new technologies

Responding to these rapid changes, Thales has devel­oped the AirMaster C, a new sur­veil­lance radar with an ultra-com­pact, pro­gram­ma­ble 2D active anten­na based on SiGe (sil­i­con-ger­ma­ni­um) tech­nol­o­gy. SiGe is much more energy effi­cient than other tech­nolo­gies used for AESA radars, and allows the radar to self-cool. Weighing less than 20 kilo­grams and housed in a single unit design, the radar has a 30% lower SWaP (size, weight and power) than the other radars in this class.

In addi­tion to this break­through SiGe tech­nol­o­gy, other inno­va­tions are deployed. Multi-polar­i­sa­tion (a capa­bil­i­ty dis­played by many cam­eras) will allow the radar to auto­mat­i­cal­ly select the opti­mal set­tings to max­imise detec­tion per­for­mance on each mis­sion. The radar also offers a simul­ta­ne­ous short-range and long-range detec­tion capa­bil­i­ty, sim­i­lar to the human eye, for instan­ta­neous sur­veil­lance. With its 2D nav­i­ga­tion and weath­er modes, the AirMaster C will also pro­vide valu­able nav­i­ga­tion sup­port in all types of envi­ron­ments and weath­er con­di­tions.

Multi-polarisation will increase the helicopters’ ability to detect, track and target surface ships. Thales image.

The AirMaster C is a smart soft­ware-defined radar designed to reduce air­crew work­load. With its autonomous sen­sors, self-learn­ing func­tion­al­i­ty and the abil­i­ty to analyse and clas­si­fy huge vol­umes of data, the radar can auto­mat­i­cal­ly adapt to dif­fer­ent uses, ter­rains and envi­ron­ments. The AirMaster C builds on the inno­v­a­tive design and proven suc­cess of the Master series.

Notified by the French Armament General Directorate (DGA), prepara­to­ry stud­ies are being car­ried out by Thales in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Airbus Helicopters for the inte­gra­tion of the AirMaster C on board the Guépard heli­copter. This is the future light joint army heli­copter, which will have to carry out a wide vari­ety of mis­sions for the three French armies.

“We’re proud to present the latest addi­tion to the Thales family of air­borne sur­veil­lance radars, the AirMaster C, which meets the full range of cur­rent and future oper­a­tional require­ments. With this new prod­uct, Thales offers an opti­mised sur­veil­lance solu­tion for a broad­er array of plat­form types and oper­a­tors, ensur­ing they ben­e­fit from the high­est levels of mis­sion per­for­mance as they face the new chal­lenges ahead.”

Hervé Hamy, Vice President for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Thales

-End-

Naval News comments

Thales depicts a naval HIL Guépard helicopter fitted with three AirMaster-C antennas. Note that the radar could also be embedded inside a medium size naval UAV. Thales image.

The HIL Guépard, in its naval ver­sion, will be able to carry the Sea Venom/ANL anti-ship mis­siles. Instead of a unique panoram­ic radar under­bel­ly, it was stated at the begin­ing of the pro­gram that the Guépard will be equipped with sev­er­al AESA anten­nas, offer­ing a 360° detec­tion cov­er­age around the heli­copter.

With a 20 kg weight and low power con­sump­tion, the new AirMaster C will per­fect­ly ful­fill this role. According to Thales video, an AirMaster C anten­na will be inte­grat­ed into the Guépard nose. But some of Thales’ visu­als show that two other anten­nas will –or could– be inte­grat­ed in the rear flanks of the heli­copter. Thus, with three AirMaster C anten­nas, the naval vari­ant of the Guépard will be able to pro­vide 360° sur­veil­lance, des­ig­nate tar­gets off-bore­sight for the Sea Venom/ANL and prob­a­bly offer mid-course guid­ance for long range anti­ship mis­siles (i.e. Exocet) fired from a sur­face ship.

This mul­ti­mode radar being inte­grat­ed on the Air Force and Army vari­ants of the Guépard, the Marine Nationale’s HIL will likely retain excel­lent air-to-ground sur­veil­lance capa­bil­i­ties. A very good news for the spe­cial oper­a­tion forces deployed from the French navy frigates, but also for human­i­tar­i­an and rescue oper­a­tions per­formed from the sea.

Naval News source|articles

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