Saab expands surface radar portfolio

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Saab expands surface radar portfolio


Saab has unveiled five new offerings to its surface radar range. Source: Saab
Key Points
  • Saab has unveiled five radars: two in X-band and three in S-band
  • The company believes that with the Giraffe 4A it has developed the first GaN-based full 2D (for 3D) AESA multifunction radar
Saab Electronic Defence Systems (EDS) on 12 May unveiled two new classes of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar - including three land-based systems and two naval variants in X- and S-band frequencies - to complement its existing surface radar portfolio.

For short-range requirements EDS has developed the Giraffe 1X - and a naval variant, Sea Giraffe 1X - as a lightweight multirole stacked-beam 3D radar with an AESA digital beam-forming antenna operating in the X-band. The system is ideally suited as a mobile or static ground-based air-defence asset for base protection or to equip smaller naval platforms for maritime security operations.

For the medium to longer range, the company has developed the Giraffe 4A and the naval-equivalent Sea Giraffe 4A: multifunction radars with an AESA digital beam-forming antenna operating in the S-band, combining simultaneous air-surveillance, air-defence, sense-and-warn, and weapon-locating capabilities in a single, stacked-beam 3D radar.

The 4A delivers about twice the detection scope of the earlier Giraffe AMB (Agile Multi-Beam) and Arthur radars, with an instrumented range of 280 km (air surveillance) and 100 km (weapon location).

For long-range air surveillance, including a tactical ballistic missile defence capability, the new Giraffe 8A is the surface-based answer to Saab's Erieye long-range airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system. Also operating in the S-Band, with an instrumented range of 470 km, the 8A is exactly the same radar as the 4A but with a beam-forming antenna twice the height of the 4A's.

"We now believe that we have the most complete surface radar portfolio in the world; in X- band, C-band, and S-band we have gone all the way from short, medium to long range," Anders Linder, vice-president and head of division at EDS's Surface Radar Systems, told IHS Jane's .

The new radars, which are all company funded, build on the designs of - and feature commonalities with - Saab's current range of radars, including the Giraffe AMB multirole surveillance radar, Arthur weapon-locating radar, Erieye AEW&C radar, and the sensor suites of Saab's Gripen multirole fighter.

However, the new S- and X-band radars are based on new gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology, which, while costly, outperforms alternatives in efficiency, size, and reliability - and, in Saab's view, places EDS firmly out in front of its surface radar competitors.

"We have worked on wide-bandgap semiconductor technologies, of which GaN is an example, for a couple of decades, and have worked on GaN technologies since 2005. We believe that the 4A/8A - and to some extent the 1X - will be the first GaN-based full 2D [simultaneous air-defence, air-surveillance, and weapon-locating] AESA multifunction radar," Fredrik Wising, strategic portfolio manager with Saab EDS, told IHS Jane's .

EDS has also upgraded its existing C-band Giraffe AMB and Arthur radars but retained their existing travelling-wave tube technology rather than switching to GaN.

"Compared to when they were launched 10-15 years ago, these are completely different radars," said Linder. "The whole back end - the software, the tracking, the range - are all improved. We are keeping the names, but they are completely different radars with much greater capability."

Linder noted that, while EDS will retain the name Arthur for its existing weapon-locating radar, all new products in the surface radar portfolio, including weapon-locating radars, will now carry the Giraffe branding. "We are sticking to one name for brand simplicity," he explained.

He confirmed that EDS is already under contract for the Giraffe 4A, with deliveries beginning in 2016, although he declined to disclose numbers for either units or customers. The company is "in final discussions with a couple of customers" for the Giraffe 1X and has customers for the upgraded Giraffe AMB and Arthur radars, he said.

However, he noted that both the 1X and 8A were currently in 'industrialisation' - Saab jargon for its post-product development de-risking process - and that they could be available for delivery in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Saab expands surface radar portfolio - IHS Jane's 360
 

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I know Saudi Arabia is having a really good reaction with Sweden. You guys can go for that. Looks impressive and practical. Great to the peace shield.