Czech Army to purchase Vera-NG passive radars

Czech Army to purchase Vera-NG passive radars
Author:|Caption: Vera-NG passive radar station
27 / 07 / 2018, 10:30

The complicated purchase of 8 Israeli Mobile Air Defence Radars (MADR) is not the only acquisition in the domain of air surveillance the Czech Army is planning. On 17th July the General Staff announced plans to procure two Vera-NG mobile passive radar systems to support NATO missions.

Vera-NG uses advanced techniques to conduct cross-border long-term and long-range surveillance, and it effectively "sees without being seen".  The passive radar is capable of detecting even stealth aircraft from large distances. On top of that, jamming is hard and the system being essentialy a receiver, which emits no electromagnetic energy, is impossible to be destroyed by the anti-radiation missiles.

The first Czech(oslovak) passive radar system was developed in 1963 (PRP-1 "Kopáč"), it could simultaneously track 6 targets and was first used during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. In 1979 a new system followed (KRTP-81 Ramona, NATO reporting name: "Soft Ball") capable of tracking 20 targets, and a well known Tamara system (KRTP-86, “Trash Bin” in NATO terminology) introduced in 1987 could track 23 radar targets and 48 IFF (Identification friend or foe) targets. All these radar system swere developed and produced by the state owned company Tesla. After this company collapsed in 1991, ERA Pardubice (member of the Omnipol Group) was founded in 1994 by the lead engineers from Tesla, and it continued the development of passive radar systems with VERA S/M (E) in 1996.

The system is named after Ret. Col. Věra Perlingerová, former ATC controller of the Czech Army, who helped to restart the use of passive radars by introducing the advantages of multilateration technology to the Czech Armed Forces and by lobbying among Czech politicians and other decision-makers.

In 2011 came the last, 5th generation of passive radar system, named VERA-NG - New Generation.

The system operates in accordance with method known as TDOA (Time Difference Of Arrival) by measuring the time difference, detection and sticking radio radiation sources based on differential propagation time of electromagnetic waves radiated from the source to the receiver station.

It is composed of four receiving stations equipped with small, compact and reliable receivers developed for wide-band signal detection starting from frequencies of VHF active radars, up to the range of high frequency radars and jamming signals. One of the receiving stations is central. The Central Processing Station provides target tracking, non-cooperative target identification including detailed signal analysis. The sensors can be placed either on masts of two different heights (12m and 25m), supported by a tubular telescopic structure, or on lightweight tripods or quadpods.

Major Characteristics:

  • Simultaneous tracking of up to 200 targets
  • Frequency range 1 – 18 GHz
  • Operation range approximately 450 km (limited by a radio horizon)
  • Detection of distance of targets including their flight level
  • Location accuracy 50 to 300 metres
  • Identification of targets

The Vera passive radar systems are operated by the Czech Army, Estonia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam and United States. The first (of two ordered) mobile version of the VERA S/M system was handed over to the 53rd Passive Surveillance Center on 7th December 2004. The company is part of NATO Response Force, High Readiness Force, since 2006.

The S/M variant is now seen as obsolete with the Vera-NG and the Army seeks for upgrade: “Our goal is to replace obsolete Vera mobile passive radar systems with two new, highly modular and mobile systems in order to raise the technological capabilities and abilities to wage electronic warfare,” ACR General Staff spokesperson Major Vlastimila Cyprisová informed media on 17th July. No procurement date has been given so far. "It is going to be a solution based on the actual Vera-NG system. Deployable in missions," Major General Ivo Střecha, Director of the Force Development Division of the General Staff said. New systems are to be air transporable by Alliance's aircraft.

In 2014, the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) has officially awarded to the Era company a contract for the provision of two Vera-NG sets for the NATO Air Command and Control Surveillance and Identification. The systems are to be delivered by this summer.

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