The first of five new digital radars for France's future Defence and Intervention frigate (Frégate de Défense et d’Intervention) have been delivered to the French Navy.
Designed to help future naval vessels combat air, surface and asymmetric threats, the Sea Fire's solid-state four-panel Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antennae can search for air and surface targets simultaneously, scanning an area of several hundred square kilometres with 360° coverage in azimuth, 90° in elevation and an unmatched refresh rate.
“Drawing on more than 70 years of Thales experience in the field of surface radars, the Sea Fire is designed to help navies to counter all types of threats, from slow-moving targets to supersonic missiles,” said Rémi Mongabure, Bids Director for multifunction radars at Thales.
Mongabure says Sea Fire brings modern frigates the same power and performance as a destroyer and ensures that commanders can fulfil their mission with optimum safety.
Sea Fire benefits from Thales's Big Data and cybersecurity expertise. The huge volumes of data generated by each panel — in the order of one terabit per second — can be processed using advanced algorithms to optimise the radar’s performance in specific operating environments. Thales says the new AESA fixed-array radar offers twice the operational availability of earlier-generation radar systems with mechanically scanned antennas.
Manufactured in Limours, south of Paris, with the involvement of a French network of small medium- sized companies, the Sea Fire started production in May 2018 and successfully passed initial qualification tests in late 2020, despite difficulties caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
The radars will be integrated on the new frigates at the Lorient shipyard where they are being constructed.