Thales has announced the launch of a new dual-axis multibeam active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar designed to provide surveillance and target indication for small warships, offshore patrol vessels, and amphibious/afloat support shipping.
The new rotating single-face X-band system, designated ‘NS50’, is the latest addition to Thales’ family of 4D AESA radars (the company uses the term ‘4D’ to characterise radars able to provide Doppler measurement as well as bearing, range, and elevation information). Sharing significant commonality with the NS100 and NS200 S-band air surveillance radars in terms of software and architecture, NS50 is being positioned to replace the Variant radar in the company’s product line-up.
Smaller warships and amphibious/auxiliary vessels have typically been fitted with 2D radars limited to providing range and bearing information only. This necessarily limits the quality of air/surface detection, tracking, and classification performance provided to the host ship.
“We are launching NS50 to address this market, and provide small ships and support vessels with the benefits of a true 4D AESA multifunction radar,” Serge Adrian, Thales’ vice president for surface radar, told Jane’s . “So NS50 will bring similar performance benefits as our other 4D AESA radars, albeit with a lower range.”
He continued, “The new 4D technology we provide increases dwell time on target and gives our users access to a level of information that wasn’t accessible before. Furthermore, our 4D technology provides a combination of surveillance and weapon support functionality.”
The decision to select an operating frequency in X-band was driven by a number of factors, according to Hugo Anbeek, NS50 product manager. “We looked at several solutions, including a scaled down [S-band] NS100,” he said. “However, when we looked at the main platform types we identified that their two most important tasks were air surveillance and surface surveillance. And whereas NS100 and NS200 are optimised for air surveillance, there are several advantages to the use of X-band in the surface mode.
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