Thales Nederland is showcasing its APAR Block 2 radar at CANSEC, having proposed the sensor for inclusion in the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) warship.
Canada invested in the development of the original APAR (active phased array radar), and while it was not adopted in Canada, the system was sold to the navies of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. APAR Block 2 is a new, ship-agnostic system that could be applied to a number of CSC design proposals.
Thales (Booth 1701) has developed APAR Block 2 with development funding from the Royal Netherlands Navy. However, there is considerable Canadian involvement in the form of the transmit/receive modules (TRMs) provided by Sanmina. In the new APAR iteration, those modules employ gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology in place of the gallium arsenide (GaAs) TRMs used in APAR Block 1.
GaN permits greater mode flexibility and greater power transmission, and the radar no longer requires waveguides.
APAR Block 2 is an X-band radar offering rapid detection and tracking of small-RCS (radar cross-section) targets at low elevations, with an ability to see out to the horizon and beyond.
Unlike other radars, which require separate illumination systems, APAR Block 2 has the ability to provide guidance for missiles such as the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and Standard Missile 2.
In a warship installation, APAR Block 2 would be part of a dual-band radar system, partnered by a Thales SeaMaster 400 S-band array offering a range of 450‑500km.
This was developed as a non-rotating radar for the Royal Netherlands Navy’s Holland class offshore patrol vessels. Both radars have four fixed arrays in a mast (along with surface search sensors) to provide 360° coverage, and they share a common processor.
Automated radar task scheduling optimises the employment of both antenna sets.
The Canadian DND has outlined a number of extreme threat environments in which the CSC’s defensive systems must operate, and Thales is confident that its system, with APAR Block 2, can meet the challenges associated with them.