Sofia close to completing 20-year ground-based air surveillance radar modernisation
Romania’s announcement on 5 February that it purchased a single Lockheed Martin AN/TPS-77 series L-band (1.215 gigahertz/GHz to 1.4GHz) ground-based air surveillance radar marks one of the final steps towards the country’s completion of its ground-based air surveillance radar modernisation which it commenced in the late 1990s.
Since 1998, Sofia has made significant investments into its ground-based air defences, which have culminated in the procurement of five AN/TPS-77 radars for $82 million; all of which had been delivered by 1999, plus the procurement of 19 AN/TPS-79 S-band (2.3GHz to 2.5GHz/2.7GHz to 3.7GHz) ground-based air surveillance and air traffic control radars. These latter systems were ordered between 2002 and 2008 with all 19 radars being delivered by 2011. In Forțele Aeriene Române (Romanian Air Force) service these radars are used to provide military and civilian air traffic control/management services, as well as to fulfil a ‘gap filler’ role to enhance Romania’s national RAP (Recognised Air Picture).
Romania may witness one final AN/TPS-77 procurement in the coming five years, as the country had reportedly stated an intention to procure two of these radars in 2016. This could see an additional procurement of an AN/TPS-77 for circa $17.1 million by 2020. Once this procurement is complete, Romania is not expected to perform additional ground-based air surveillance radar procurements until circa 2035 when the country may take the decision to either replace, or modernise, the AN/TPS-77 radars it procured in the late 1990s.