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A new naval sensor designed to track advanced weapons including supersonic missiles has entered the production process. The Sea Fire digital radar, manufactured by Thales for the

French Navy’s FTI (Frigates of intermediate size) future medium-size frigates program, is tailored to evolving requirements and the new threats faced by the French Navy, particularly supersonic missiles, according to Thales’ statement. In fact, the radar can be embarked on all types of vessels, from the corvette to the destroyer, including the frigate.

As reported by, the sensor is built to track conventional, asymmetric and emerging air and surface threats. It is designed for roles ranging from ship self-defense to extended air defense.

The company started building the four-panel phased array antenna after three years of research into radar technology and architecture, backed by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) procurement office, the company said. The radar draws on work on big data and cybersecurity, and future software development will be written into the system to boost performance and reliability over the life of the system.

Among the advantages of the radar’s size are its operational readiness (zero maintenance required in open sea for the emission-reception part) that strengthens its operational reliability (two times superior to a rotating radar from the old generation). This operational readiness is combined with ease of development for upgrades as SEA FIRE is a software radar. Indeed, its capabilities can be enhanced by simply adding software modules without any need to modify the hardware, which ensures savings in ownership costs, according to the company website.          

The company will deliver the first radar next year for qualification at the DGA facility in southern France. Thales will in 2020 ship the four radar panels to Naval Group’s Lorient shipyard, western France, where the five FTI frigates will be built.