SMART-L radar proves BMD capability

Zr. Ms. de Ruyter

Thales’s SMART-L radar detected and tracked a Terrier Oriole ballistic missile well outside the earth’s atmosphere. This unique achievement was the highlight in Formidable Shield 2017, an integrated air and missile defence exercise organized by the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet in the Hebrides test range in the Atlantic Ocean.

FS2017 logo

Admiral Rob Kramer of the Royal Netherlands Navy tweeted: “Technology triumph and top innovation by Thales and the Royal Netherlands Navy. This helps us keep safe in turbulent times.”

On the 15th of October, the ballistic missile was launched from the Hebrides coast. It reached an altitude of 300 km and a velocity of more than 3 km/second. Thales’s SMART-L radar on board of HNLMS De Ruyter detected and tracked the ballistic missile and made the data real-time available to a US Navy’s Aegis-class ship, via the designated NATO communications network. The quality of the data was high enough to be used for a Launch on Remote.

The SMART-L radar on HNLMS De Ruyter, was  temporarily modified to include the latest technology that Thales has recently developed for Ballistic Missile Defence purposes. This technology is used in the SMART-L Multi Mission radar that Thales is building for the four Royal Netherlands Navy’s Air Defence and Command Frigates and for two land-based versions for the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Gerben Edelijn, CEO of Thales in the Netherlands: “This exercise proves that Thales has developed a radar system that is capable of timely detecting  a ballistic missile and generating reliable data to enable the elimination of the threat. Such a sensor is an essential asset for armed forces in the protection of their countries’ population and high-value objects.”

Parallel to the events in the Atlantic, the SMART-L Multi Mission on the test tower in Hengelo again detected and tracked the ballistic missile.

About SMART-L Multi Mission
SMART-L Multi Mission is a fully digitally controlled Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. The applied high-end techniques result in a radar with an unrivalled long range performance of 2000 km. Within this enormous range it detects a wide spectrum of targets: air-breathing objects, stealth objects and ballistic missiles. SMART-L MM autonomously detects ballistic missile type objects. The AESA technology allows state of the art Dual Axis Multi-beam operation, active tracking and staring mode. The programmable radar is characterized by full flexibility. Additional capabilities can be introduced during lifetime, according to customer needs. This makes the radar future proof in case of evolving requirements. At present, Thales has contracts for the development, build and installation of four SMART-L MM / N systems for the Royal Netherlands Navy and two SMART-L MM / F radars for the Royal Netherlands Air Force for the surveillance of the Netherlands air space. More military organizations all over the world have expressed their interest in SMART-L MM. In tests at the Thales premises, SMART-L MM has already detected and tracked satellites in orbit at ranges up to 2000 km.