11 July 2024

Indonesia has ordered 13 long-range military radars from Thales to boost airspace surveillance efforts across its immense archipelago, the French manufacturer and state-owned Indonesian defence firm PT Len Industri said Sunday.

The Ground Master 400 Alpha (GM400a) radars will allow the Indonesian military to “benefit from a single air picture integrating the detection of all types of threats, from jets and missiles to hovering helicopters and unmanned air vehicles”, the companies said in a joint statement.

The amount of the contract, which spans several years, has not been disclosed. Each radar costs several tens of millions of dollars.

The GM400a is a mobile radar with a range of 515 kilometres (320 miles) and “integrates artificial intelligence capabilities to manage the massive amounts of data” it receives, president of Thales International Pascale Sourisse told AFP.

The purchase of the 13 latest-generation radars “shows this country’s concern for monitoring the surrounding airspace, which is directly linked to the situation in the Indo-Pacific”, where China is asserting its ambitions, she said. 

The contract provides for Thales to build the radars and the computer system for processing the information they receive. PT Len is in charge of building the stations where the equipment will be installed, as well as certain components of the radars.

Growing geopolitical tensions have led to strong growth in the radar market, and Sourisse said this was why Thales had transformed its industrial organisation and developed production capacities in new countries as well as France.

“We have to set up in new countries to meet the needs in terms of production volume, but also the requirements of our customers who want to take advantage of these contracts to develop their country’s economy, create jobs and benefit from technology transfers to master” new skills, she said.

More than 80 GM400 and GM400a radars have been sold to 19 countries, according to Thales. Credit AFP