The Finnish and Estonian defence ministries will jointly procure 14 3D medium-range radar systems of the Ground Master 403 series from ThalesRaytheonSystems to expand and upgrade their current radar capabilities.

The €200m ($265m) order includes 12 medium-range radars for Finland and two for Estonia, and long-range air identification and surveillance radar system upgrade on five Finnish Teresa 22XX radars.

Estonian Defence Minister Jaak Aaviksoo hopes that the joint procurement with Finland creates a good premise for future joint procurements.

“Several priorities of the Estonian national defence development plan for 2000 … overlap with the long-term planning directions of Finnish national defence,” he added.

With the Ground Master 403, the forces of the two nations will be able to detect aircraft at a range of up to 470km and at a maximum altitude of 30km. The radar will be able to protect key assets of troops deployed in remote locations.

Finnish and Estonian air surveillance will be boosted by the system’s reconnaissance capabilities of detecting difficult threats at low, medium and high altitudes.

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The radar systems will supplement Estonia’s current sole 3D long-range radar and will offer air surveillance for its western and south-eastern regions.

The Teresa upgrades on the other hand will extend the life of the existing Finnish Air Force long-range radars by another 15 years.

Finland also has plans to acquire 12 sentinel radars to fulfil its future medium-range air defence missile system needs.

The contract has been finalised as per a memorandum of understanding of October 2007 between the Estonian and Finnish defence ministries for carrying out the joint radar procurement.