From air to ground: comprehensive air defence solutions

We help our customers keep their skies, citizens and key assets safe through advanced air defence solutions such as ground radar systems, weapon coordination and missile defence.  

Our ground-based systems include: 
  • CONTROL, a weapon coordination solution
  • GROUND, air surveillance radars 
  • RAPID, a mobile integrated weapons system 
  • SKYVIEW, a command and control system
Our air-based systems include: 
  • SHIELD, air and missile defence solutions
  • STAR, counter-measure and fire control systems


Thales' expertise covers all radars applications. Thales and ThalesRaytheonSystems have invested significantly in new radar technologies in recent years, developing innovative air defence radar systems that are capable of handling today’s and tomorrow’s threats.
The GROUND Master radars are a family of versatile, multi-role air defence radars, dedicated to the protection of key assets and forces deployed in remote theatres. The GROUND Master radars are specifically designed to meet the following operational requirements: high detection performance, high track accuracy, weapon assignment, high operational availability and simplified maintenance as well as high mobility.

The GROUND Master radar systems can also detect a vast array of modern-day threats, including UAVs, missiles, mortars and rockets and at critical ranges and altitudes. As military threats have evolved and become less predictable, the accuracy and granularity of data available from radars is increasingly important to operators and decision-makers entrusted with the protection of assets, passengers, civilians and armed forces. The GROUND range of air surveillance radars detect from very low to very high altitude against any type of threat.

The best detection performance at the lowest lifecycle costs with a wealth of experience and hundreds of military systems installed worldwide, Thales and ThalesRaytheonSystems offer customers the widest portfolio of surface radars, fulfilling all operational requirements for system integrators and end-users. The result of major technological investment, the GROUND radar range shares common architecture, hardware and software modules, and common interfaces. We believe we have set the new industry benchmark in terms of performance, operational availability, compactness, modularity and upgradeability.


Our open systems architecture designs and innovation have been used to develop the RAPID Mobile integrated Weapon systems in which we combine the most sophisticated sensors, fire control software systems, latest generation human machine interfaces and a wide range of weapons including missiles, guns and directed energy weapons. Our RAPID systems are of modular design that ensure that they can be tailored to customers needs and CONOPS to provide the most cost-effective ‘sensor to effect’ capability. Another design driver is to ensure that our RAPID systems can be upgraded and supported easily by our customers and overseas industrial partners.

Thales RAPIDDefender
  • Fully integrated mobile SHORADsystem based on Crotale family (X000, NG, Mk3,…) with C2 interfaces, surveillance radar, fire control and missiles systems.
Thales RAPIDRanger
  • High-mobility VSHORAD systems including C2 interface, early warning sensor (optional), and the STARStreak missile and associated guidance and control interfaces.


Thales RAPIDFire
  • New mobile gun system to provide close-in protection against air and ground threats.


ThalesRaytheonSystems is the world leader in Air C4I systems. We develop, implement and maintain flexible systems that can adapt to changing operational demands with seamless planning and tasking, monitoring and the control and execution of the full spectrum of Air and Missile defence operations. SKYVIEW is an open-architecture, Air C4I solution provided by ThalesRaytheonSystems. It delivers a single, integrated Air picture and common situational awareness through command and control systems that are both scalable and interoperable. 

With its embedded ’plug and fight‘ capability, SKYVIEW enables customers to optimise their legacy systems. It also enables operators to keep track of all Air assets, in real time, to ensure that weapon systems are prepared to immediately respond to threats. SKYVIEW provides relevant capabilities to operate 24/7 protection of a zone, territory or country against all airborne threats. The system coordinates all networked ground-to-air defences such as VSHORADS, SHORADS and medium or long-range weapon systems. 

No project is too large or too complex for us to handle, for example, the Air Command and Control System we developed for NATO is a world first and the largest system of its kind to be delivered across multiple nations. 


Through the design, development and delivery of next generation solutions built around flexible defence architectures, Thales enhances the Air and Missile defence capabilities of governments and forces worldwide. Thales helps customers to evaluate their existing and future CONOPS and requirements to create optimized air and missile defence solutions.

Thales has developed a range of “packaged modular solutions” referred to as “Thales SHIELD” to meet the wide ranging needs of our Air Defence customers. These solutions vary from:
  • Thales StateSHIELD  which will provide Air defence for a nation or group of nations
  • to Thales ForceSHIELD which will provide a tailored level of air defence for troops on manoeuvre

Solutions are designed, integrated, supported and upgraded utilising our unique breadth and depth of capability gained from the experience of working with some of the world’s most advanced defence forces. They are optimised by selecting from the full range of Thales, ThalesRaytheonSystems and third party systems – advanced radars, Air C4I systems, networked communications technologies, advanced precision weapons from gun and missile systems through to directed energy weapons. The core architecture of the Thales Advanced Air Defence SHIELD enables Thales to work with customers to proactively reassign, grow and upgrade their solutions as CONOPS, technology and threats change.
Thales StateSHIELD
  • Integrated Air and Missile Defence of homeland or overseas protectorates from airborne attacks

Thales ZoneSHIELD
  • Area protection of vital assets against conventional and asymmetric air attacks

Thales ForceSHIELD
  • Protection of mobile troops on the battlefield or convoys and supply lines in fighting areas


A world leader for over 50 years in the design and manufacture of high precision air defence missiles and fire control systems, Thales has established a heritage of industry hallmarks such as Seacat, Tigercat, Blowpipe, Javelin and Starburst. Our current Thales STAR missiles, VT1 and STARStreak are the fastest SHORAD and VSHORAD missiles in the world today and this recognizes the key time critical requirement of short range air defence. In addition to the shortest time to target VT1 and STARStreak operate on “line of sight” guidance principles that means that the operator is assured that the missile can be launched as soon as the threat is identified, and then will guide to the designated targets.

Unlike higher cost seeker based missile systems VT1 and STARStreak:
  • do not require seeker cool-down and lock-on time before launch
  • cannot be decoyed by countermeasures
  • do not require any regular maintenance and support
  • can be cut down in flight if required.
VT1 – SHORAD missile that can be launched by Thales RAPIDDefender and Thales RAPID SeaGuardian systems. MACH 3.5 velocity with RF all weather guidance and range of 15km. STARStreak – VSHORAD missile can be launched from the Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) and Thales RAPIDRanger. Greater than MACH 3 velocity, triple dart configuration for highest levels of lethality and range of >7km. Cost of ownership is low as the missiles require no maintenance through life, they have a minimum 15yr shelf life and high reliability is assured – meeting strict and exacting qualification standards including insensitive Munitions compliance. 


Combined surveillance and weapon co-ordination comprising highly automated weapon co-ordination systems and tactical air defence radars, the Thales CONTROLMaster family enhances the operational capabilities and kill probability of any Air defence system.
It coordinates various weapon systems from Man-Portable Air-defence Systems (ManPADS) and guns to extended range missiles and is able to manage simultaneous multiple engagements – countering all types of threats such as fighters, helicopters, cruise missiles and UAVs, in dense, cluttered environments. It is also able to use radar detection information to predict the impact point of rocket, Artillery and Mortar (RAM) attacks, compute the launch point and alert forces and civilians automatically.
Another key operational benefit is complete interoperability with higher levels of command such as national or allied coalition Air defence networks.