Egypt receives Thales Ground Master GM400 Radar, acquiring spy satellite and multi-role tanker transport aircraft


Egypt has recently taken delivery of four units of French-made Thales Ground Master 400 (GM400) AESA air defense radars. These long-range, mobile, 3D radar system has a maximum range of up to 515Km.

Following the emergence of information about the new Rafale deal between Egypt and France, more details recently surfaced indicating that France has taken surety from French banks – BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale and CIC – to finance Rafale jets at €5.4 billion and not €4 billion.

Part of the funds will go into Egyptian acquisition contracts for an observation satellite and two multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft built by Airbus.

Egypt had initially planned to acquire two satellites in 2016, but settled for only one due to budget issues. The military satellite was worth €600 million. In 2020, Egypt entered negotiations with Italy for a surveillance satellite as part of a much larger package that included four frigates, 20 corvettes based on the Falaj class that Fincantieri built for the United Arab Emirates, 24 Eurofighter Typhoon multirole jets, 24 M346 jet trainers.

The business failed to materialise due to Cairo’s strained diplomatic relations with Rome following the murder of an Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni in February 2016 in the suburbs of Cairo.

According to Thales, the Ground Master 3D air surveillance radar, provides C2 centres with superior situational awareness at all times. With an update rate of 6 seconds and an elevation coverage of up to 40°, it can continuously scan the airspace simultaneously detecting all types of high, medium and low altitude targets.

The radar type have been exported to Senegal which was integrated with the country’s already existing SkyView command-and-control system mounted at Ouakam Air Base in Dakar.

For the past 10 years, the Egyptian military has been upgrading it’s surveillance capacity by acquiring modern radar systems. Likewise in 2017, the Egyptian Armed Forces took delivery of a new advanced 3D advanced early warning surveillance radar called 59N6E Protivnik-GE 3D from Russia.

Darek Liam

Been covering defense and national security issues for more than a decade. Sometimes you see me in the Sahara desert horse riding.

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