The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) has inducted the first ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS)-built Ground Master 400 (GM 400) long-range air defence radar system into operational service during a ceremony at Auenhausen, Germany.
The commissioning follows successful completion of extensive compliance procedures and an operational test campaign with the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), air force, Thales and TRS personnel.
BAAINBw Land-Support Department head Horst Minning said the GM 400 radar will bring a real technology breakthrough with operational benefits, such as improved tracking, low altitude detection and easy maintenance.
''Our operators will benefit hugely from these latest technologies in threat detection,'' Minning said.
ThalesRaytheonSystems CEO Philippe Duhamel said, ''The excellent level of cooperation between the German Administration, the German Air Force, Thales and ThalesRaytheonSystems enabled the achievement of this important milestone in the German radar programme.''
The newly commissioned radar represents the first of six GM400s ordered by BAAINBw from TRS under a €100m deal in December 2010, to provide enhanced air surveillance throughout Germany, from the North Sea to the Alps.
Integrated into the German Air Surveillance network, the radars can be operated either from the radar site or from a remote centre, and are scheduled to replace the Luftwaffe's former Thomson-CSF Medium Power Radar (MPR) radars, which have been operating since the 1970s.
The on-site validation of the second radar is currently underway at the Lauda-Königshofen radar site in Baden-Württemberg, while the commissioning of the entire set of six radars is planned to be completed by 2015.
A part of TRS's fully digital 3D air defence radar family, the GM 400 is designed to safeguard vital military assets and expeditionary forces through the detection of a wide range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), missiles, mortars and rockets from very low to high altitudes.
Image: The GM 400 radars will replace German Air force's existing Thomson-CSF medium power radar radars. Photo: courtesy of Thales.