French Army: Thomson-CSF Wins Co-Ordination Centre Contract For Surface-To-Air Weapon Systems
The French procurement agency, the Délégation Générale pour l'Armement
, has placed an order with Thomson­CSF Airsys for the production contract of 18 Shorad co-ordination centres ( NC1 Roland) and 31 Vshorad co-ordination centres (NC1 Mistral), designed to equip the French Army's surface-to-air artillery units.

Worth several hundred million French francs, the contract covers industrialisation, delivery and associated logistics support for a period of four years, and represents the entry into production of MARTHA, a real time concept for co-ordination of ground-based air defence operations.

Co-ordination, command and control of battlefield airspace is a major concern for modern armies. MARTHA is an automatic procedural system which contributes to the co-ordination and the security of air force and army intervening forces, and ensures the command and control of surface-to-air weapon systems.

Its design is the result of in-depth studies conducted by Thomson-CSF teams, the French Army and the DGA. The high-level operational and technical expertise which has been mobilized ensures the effectiveness of the system and its perfect integration with the other C3I systems of the forces.

The MARTHA system is carried out in two main stages.

The first stage, MARTHA 1, reinforces the efficiency of surface-to-air weapon systems and eliminates fratricide risk. The NC1 first level co-ordination centres execute the mission with a surface-to-air artillery platoon (Roland, Mistral). Surveillance, warning, and command and control enable optimisation of the platoon fires.

Operating with the Gerfaut range 2640 new radar, the NC1 Roland improves the capabilities of its four Shorad fire units. A solid state transmitter and a helicopter blade flash dedicated process enables the radar to detect a threat up to 30 km away.

Each NC1 Mistral co-ordinates up to eight Vshorad firing posts.

In this version, the centres' data communications are performed with PR4G radio equipment. A later version, allowing communications with NC2 upper level, will be carried out with a Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS).

The second stage, complementary and even more important, MARTHA 2, to be ordered this year includes second level co-ordination centres . NC2 centres will co-ordinate the linked NC1 and integrate the medium range weapon system capability (SAMP/T , Sol Air Moyenne Portée / Terre).

They will be connected to the Air Force command and control system SCCOA (Système de Commandement et de Conduite des Opérations Aériennes) in real time, and inter-operable with allied forces. Providing a local tactical air situation, they will free the armed forces' actions in the airspace above the battlefield, optimising the firing capabilities of weapon systems and achieving total efficiency of the MARTHA system.

The MARTHA programme confirms Thomson-CSF / Airsys as the international leader in real time battlefield airspace co-ordination for surface-to-air weapon systems. It also strengthens existing relations with a number of countries outside France, including NATO members, for the design, development and implementation of air defence operations.

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