Phased Array Radars for Small Ships

HMAS Perth Anzac Class frigate

Photo: HMAS Perth

Electronics have generally gotten smaller and computing power cheaper. It looks like Aegis like capabilities may finally be following that trend.

Defense Industry Daily reports on collaboration between the US and the Australia on a new phased array radar system that have already been successfully tested on a 3,600 ton Australian frigate and may find its way onto USN littoral combat ships that are now equipped very much like the Bertholf Class Cutters and the projected Offshore Patrol Cutters. Other phased array systems have been deployed on Singapore’s 3,200 ton Formidable Class frigates and the Netherlands’ 3,750 ton Holland class Offshore Patrol Vessels.

Not that Iranian news releases have a high degree of credibility, but even they are claiming to have developed something similar, “Iran has tested its newest long-range phased array radar system, named the Asr (Era)…Rear Admiral Ali Gholamzadeh told reporters that the radar system had been designed and manufactured by Iranian experts…The radar system will be installed on a number of the Navy’s warships…”

If the weight and price comes down, there are lots of reasons to go to phased array systems. They eliminate moving parts. They include large numbers of identical parts and can normally continue to operate even if some of them fail, resulting in loss of only part of the radar’s capability rather than complete failure. They may also simultaneously serve multiple functions including surface and air search, track, and firecontrol.

5 thoughts on “Phased Array Radars for Small Ships

  1. I can imagine down the road the USCG uses ASEA or Phased Array Radar on the future OPC and the NSC. If they way they are going right now, I would bet in the next 10 to 20 years, you can see phased array radar being placed on smaller ships

  2. Well, phased arrays have been in relatively common use since at least the 80s. I won’t be shocked if the Iranians can do it – its capability relative to current standards is another question.

  3. While everything Chuck says is accurate, one must remember that “getting cheaper” doesn’t mean it’s cheap yet…

    The US has a frigate-sized PA radar, the SPY-1F. It would have been a perfect fit for the WMSL, yet it wasn’t installed. Why? Although they are getting cheaper, they’re still much more expensive than systems which still do the job quite acceptably. In the current budget climate, PA radars will have to get to the same or cheaper price than the combined price of surface and air search and track radars. There’s still a (long) ways to go here…

  4. This appears to be the direction the CG will head in the immediate future for advanced surface radar:

    A quick google search will also pull up an article about the CGC Mellon using a digital SPS-71 (I believe) radar, which is satisfactory or possibly more-advanced than needed for the missions.

    With electronics advancing a generation every few years; however, I will never say never.


    • Bill, Even APAR radar is being used on most navies and it’s small enough to fit into the NSC. Look at the Sachsen Class Frigate for example, it has Thales APAR Radar mounted. I bet you can mount the same thing on the NSC as well. Even the Holland class OPV has the Thales Intergrated Mast mounted system. Maybe this is something the USCG is leaning towards in the next 10 to 30 years down the road.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s