In March 2017, the first in the series production of Thales SEARCHMASTER® multi-role surveillance radars was accepted and declared ready for delivery to its first export customer, in line with production timescales.
The SEARCHMASTER® multi-role surveillance radar is the first multi-role radar developed in its category (under 80kg) to meet the needs of both maritime and ground surveillance as well as providing tactical air support in both of these environments. Using Active Electronic Scanning Antenna (AESA) technology, the radar is tailored to fly on all platform types.
The SEARCHMASTER® multi-role surveillance radar meets the requirements of five general mission types: anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, maritime surveillance, ground surveillance and mapping, and air surveillance missions.
It incorporates fully qualified and combat proven technologies such as the RBE2 AESA (Active Electronic Scanning Antenna) nose mounted radar operational on the Rafale combat aircraft. By capitalizing on Thales's expertise in AESA technology for combat aircraft, SEARCHMASTER also benefits from the associated ITAR-free supply chain.
The solution is based on an ultra-compact, robust and agile antenna which offers high mission reliability as well as lower weight, size and power consumption. The SEARCHMASTER® radar also offers a number of additional advantages: extended range, 360° field of vision, simultaneous short range and long-range coverage, outstanding detection performance even in harsh climatic conditions, greater discretion, very high resolution and the ability to cover huge areas in imaging mode while simultaneously tracking multiple targets.
This high-performance radar meets the requirements of airborne surface, ground and air surveillance missions. Thanks to its compact, lightweight design (78kg, air-cooled), the radar is simple to integrate on a host platform and integrate with a system. It is suitable for:
- Small and heavier MALE UAVs
- Medium-tonnage and heavy-lift mission helicopters
- Large, medium and small mission aircraft (turboprop or jet)
The SEARCHMASTER® was selected in 2014 by the French defense procurement agency (DGA) as part of the Altantique 2 (ATL2) maritime patrol aircraft upgrade program for the French navy. The production of the radar was launched in 2016 at Thales Campus in Bordeaux and several international customers have already selected the radar for their requirements.
It has already been selected by several international customers. The first production equipment will be delivered for the international market during the first quarter of 2017.