In the area of advanced radar, DGA helped fund development of critical components in an effort to sustain core industrial skills and remain competitive in the global market.
“Europe's combat aircraft sector must shelter itself from the threat of embargoes on critical components,” the agency says. “To remain competitive, both nationally and in terms of exports, the mastery of these new components of high technology becomes vital.
The objective was to put in place an industrial landscape for precision radar development while understanding and perfecting the technologies that go into active antenna components. Aimed at developing an active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for use on Eurofighter, Rafale and other advanced combat aircraft, the Airborne Multirole Solid-state Active-array Radar (Amsar) was funded by Germany, France and the U.K., and run by EADS, Selex Galileo and Thales.
For France, the project also sought to balance integration of the radars into Rafale while maintaining the pace of production to coincide with planned export projects.
Little more than a decade ago, France was at risk of losing its position in aerial surveillance radar. Concerned that the industrial stakes were considerable, DGA began a modular mobile multifunction radar (M3R) demonstrator program to restore French competitiveness for a large-area active radar antenna and to pave the way for future anti-missile and air-defense projects.
Developed by Thales and Raytheon Systems, the 3-D long-range air-defense radar, known as the Ground Master 400 (GM400), is designed to protect key assets for forces deployed on remote operations. Capable of detecting targets at low, medium and high altitudes with an unprecedented level of availability and mobility, the radar can spot a fighter aircraft at 450 km (280 mi.) and cruise missiles or small aircraft at 250 km.
France is in the process of deploying the Thales/Raytheon-built GM400 at Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, and to date 32 have been ordered for export.
DGA is also investing in active antennas and ground stations for satellite communications. The aim was to demonstrate that a moving ground vehicle could communicate by satellite on all types of terrain. Following two demonstrations in 2008, the capability was integrated on French army vehicles in 2009 and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.