The Israeli Navy is set to complete all radar upgrades on its Sa'ar 4.5 and Sa'ar 5 ships in less than a year, a senior naval official has told Jane's .
The navy is currently upgrading its Sa'ar 4.5s with the IAI Elta ELM-2258 Advanced Lightweight Phased Array (ALPHA) radar. This is an active electronically scanned array (AESA) S-band system with a rotating antenna that was designed for the relatively small ships.
Two of the three Sa'ar 5 corvettes are also receiving the ALPHA. One was seen with the new radar during Exercise 'Mighty Waves' in August 2019.
The third Sa'ar 5, INS Lahav , has already been fitted with the larger ELM-2248 MF-Star radar, providing a testbed for the systems that will be installed on the new Sa'ar 6 ships being built in Germany. The senior officer said this radar might be swapped for an ALPHA, but a final decision has yet to be taken.
"We will soon complete the ALPHA installations. This will give us an ability to deal with very complex aerial threats and to view them in high resolution, distinguishing between all sorts of targets," the source said.
Meanwhile, personnel from the navy's Weapons Systems Department are working to make the radar cross section of the Sa'ar 6 ships "as small as possible", the source said.
This effort is informed by the navy's ongoing threat assessment, which views the proliferation of advanced coastal anti-ship missiles as a significant threat. Syria has Russian-made Yakhont supersonic anti-ship missiles that are launched by its Bastion coastal systems, while Iran has been transferring anti-ship missiles to militant groups, including the Lebanese Hizbullah.
"It has changed the rules of the game," the source said, referring to the missile proliferation. "The navy used to train for navy-to-navy battles. That is still seen as very significant scenario, but now, because there are many shore-to-sea missiles spread out in all sorts of countries in the area, an [enemy] organisation does not need to maintain a fleet."
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