Staring At The Sky

Thales showcased a new very long range early-warning radar at the company’s TechnoDay in Parison 16th February.

This new product, the result of a joint initiative involving the ONERA French aerospace laboratory, is intended to provide early warning of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs), and the has a detection range of around 3,000km, (1,619nm) according to Odile Adrian, head of Radar Advanced Developments at the company.

Operating in a low frequency band, the TLP could typically be used to detect IRBMs soon after their launch, and to hand off targeting data to other ballistic missile defence radars, which can then be used to provide fire control information for surface-to-air missiles.

The TLP uses an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) to provide an estimation of a missile’s impact point, as well as its launch location. The AESA array of the TLP also provides a sharp enough resolution to detect the separation of a missile and its warheads. This can help counter proliferation efforts in peacetime to determine how advanced an actors’ ballistic missile development capabilities are, vis-à-vis whether they have managed to perfect missile separation, warhead and decoy technology.

The TLP will become available for purchase within the next five to ten years and, over the long term, could provide NATO with a radar-based IRBM detection capability.

Published by Thomas Withington

Thomas Withington is a writer and analyst specialising in electronic warfare, radar and military communications.

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