C4iSR: Maritime

Thales tests SMART-L MM/N BMD radar ahead of lead ship set delivery

15 May 2017

Key Points

  • The RNLN's four LCF frigates will all receive the new SMART-L MM/N extended long-range radar
  • The RNLN plans to conduct a test of the new BMD processing functionality in the forthcoming Exercise 'Formidable Shield 2017'

Thales Nederland is on course to perform factory acceptance testing (FAT) for the second production SMART-L Multi-Mission/Naval (MM/N) D-band long-range radar in the last quarter of 2017, prior to delivery to the Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and subsequent installation on a Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) De Zeven Provinciën-class air defence and command (LCF) frigate.

The SMART-L MM/N first-of-class radar is undergoing testing at Hengelo. Qualification is expected to be completed in 2018. (Richard Scott/NAVYPIX)The SMART-L MM/N first-of-class radar is undergoing testing at Hengelo. Qualification is expected to be completed in 2018. (Richard Scott/NAVYPIX)

Previously known as SMART-L EWC, the SMART-L MM/N radar is being procured as part of a combat systems upgrade that will confer the RNLN's four LCF ships with an extended range surveillance and tracking capability forming part of the Netherlands' national contribution to NATO's ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability. An initial operational capability is planned for 2019.

SMART-L MM/N is a new active electronically scanned array radar, using Gallium Nitride transmit/receive modules, designed to detect air, surface, and high-speed exo-atmospheric targets out to an instrumented range of 2,000 km. Combining dual-axis multibeam processing with a patented extended long-range (ELR) waveform already proven in live at-sea testing, SMART-L ELR is designed to operate in a number of rotating and staring modes to support volume air surveillance and/or BMD long-range search and track.

The DMO awarded Thales Nederland a contract in June 2012 covering the development and manufacture of four SMART-L MM/N systems. The second radar off the production line will in fact be the first to be delivered to the DMO; the first-of-class (FOC) radar began testing at the company's Hengelo site in late 2016 and is currently being used to support system qualification.

"We will perform the FAT for the second radar in October this year," said Marco Strijker, Thales Nederland's SMART-L MM product manager.

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