- The first Saar 4.5 has now been fitted with the ALPHA radar.
- The new radar is the most significant part of an upgrade that is being rolled out across the class.
The Israeli Navy has completed the installation of a new radar on the first of its Saar 4.5 missile ships and has begun work on a second ship of the same class, an officer overseeing the programme told Jane's on 21 November.
INS Sufa is now fitted with the IAI-Elta ELM 2258 Advanced Lightweight Phased Array (ALPHA) radar, which the navy calls the Fire Sickle and guides the vessel’s Barak-1 surface-to-air missiles. New electronic warfare, command-and-control, and observation systems have also been fitted, meaning virtually all the ship’s major systems have been replaced.
“After completing various sea trials, the Sufa is now in possession of a very significant upgrade, of which the Fire Sickle is the main component,” Major Lior Hirschbrand, the head of the programme said.
He said Sufa has already undergone trials to test its ability to detect and track targets. “It is significantly better than its predecessor and meets the challenges we face today,” he said. “The ships will have a fused picture of their environment. Operators will have access to autonomous big data processing tools based on algorithms, which will provide them with recommendations.”
“This radar is digital, modern, and able to deal with all of the targets and threats that the navy has defined,” said Gil Roth, head of naval radars at IAI-Elta. "The very precise picture of the targets gives the navy the needed awareness to deal with both immediate and more distant threats in terms of time and distance.”
The new observation system will “see further and provide a sharper view”, Maj Hirschbrand said, declining to provide further details.
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