Savunma ve Stratejik Analizler

9 Haziran 2015 Salı

Thales’ TLP long range early warning radar heads towards first test phase

09 June 2015

The historical radar manufacturer Thales has recently revealed details about its on-going project of Very Long Range Radar. Launched in 2007 by the French Defense Ministry, the TLP (Radar Très Longue Portée) is a ballistic missile early warning radar (BMEWS) being developed by Thales and the French Aerospace Lab ONERA. It will be able to detect intermediate-range as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The TLP project is the first of this kind in Europe and could potentially participate to the NATO active layered theatre ballistic missile defense (ALTBMD) system in Europe. According to Ronan Moulinet from Thales Air Systems, the TLP will ensure multiple ballistic missile detection, acquisition and tracking at a range between 600and 3000 km for Battle Management alerting. TLP radar is designed to provide detection and tracking in exo atmospheric environment and in the end of boost phase by using search fence pattern with surveillance domain configurable according to assigned mission.

The TLP will be able to perform three critical missions:

- Missile threat proliferation monitoring, with the surveillance of ballistic missile trials for evaluation of the technological maturity level, in order to establish missile parameters, ballistic cluster parameters, and Target Object Map

- Passive and active missile defense in case of a ballistic missile attack (Detection and trajectory calculation must be achieved early enough for emergency population or forces warning or missile interception)

- Contribution to agressor identification (The launching zone knowledge gives a clear evidence on a potential ballistic actor who would threaten national territory)

Thales' TLP is based on a modular concept, which makes it unique. All the main electronic devices are included in containers. The radar is composed of columns; each column being composed by 5 technical containers, 2 operational shelters, 5 3x4 m sub panels with elementary radiating elements, and 2 cooling units. The entire structure is to be composed of 8 columns, with a complete antenna featuring 3000 T/R modules on a surface of 400 m². According to Ronan Moulinet, a complete TLP radar could be operational in 6 months, depending on the nature of the ground on which it is mounted on.

The TLP has been compared by Moulinet with Raytheon’s TPY-2 radar, which is also designed to provide early warning of incoming ballistic missiles. However, the TLP is a low-frequency radar (UHF), while the TPY-2 radar operates in X-band, has a narrower field of view, and has to be deployed closer to the predicted launch points of the missiles.

In October 2011 the French Defense Ministry awarded a risk reduction contract to Thales and Onera for the development and the experimentation of one-column-sized TLP radar. The "Demonstration Radar Très Longue Portée" (DRTLP) is defined as one column of the future radar, including signal and data processing, operational HMI, BITE. The radar infrastructure foundations were built in January 2015, and a one-column-sized DRTLP will be installed in the South West of France during the second semester of 2015 for integration. The demonstrator has two main objectives:

- The validation of architecture and technology choices
- The evaluation of the detection and accuracy performances in order to anticipate operational performances of TLP Radar.

The first test phase is scheduled for 2016, for validation of the concept.

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