Israel Aerospace Industries has unveiled the STAR-X 3D multi-mission naval radar, designed for Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and other small vessels. The STAR-X 3D naval radar is based on IAI’s ELTA pioneering AESA (Active Electronic Scanned Array) technology It performs simultaneous air and surface surveillance, and is designed for performing critical missions in Exclusive Economic Zones (EZZ) and beyond.

In an era of a diverse spectrum of aerial threats and challenges to maritime security and sovereignty, Naval vessels need to be equipped with 3D surveillance capabilities as part of modern Naval Air & Missile defence.

Naval combat suites that include Strike capabilities as well, provide nations with the ability to defend their strategic interests at sea.

The newest member of the IAI family of operationally proven naval radars, which are in service with naval forces worldwide, the STAR-X is a fully digital, 3D, high-performance AESA radar which leverages proven technology from other IAI-ELTA radars. The STAR-X has reduced overall dimensions and lower weight and power requirements, which provide a very cost-effective solution for naval radar technology. The versatile radar features robust, modular construction and fully digital software-driven architecture. The STAR-X delivers low LCC (Life Cycle Cost) together with the cost-effective ability to implement future upgrades, mainly through software updates, ensuring the ability to evolve and address future threats.

Eyal Shapira, VP& GM Air Defense Radars and Naval Systems, said, “The STAR-X radar meets the growing demands for Radars designed for OPVs, to guard against a wide range of missions and threats including terrorism, smuggling, illegal fishing, SAR, and others. Whether engaged to protect critical offshore infrastructure or to assist in search and rescue operations, the STAR-X delivers significantly enhanced situational awareness in comparison to the legacy systems that have traditionally been fitted to this class of ship. IAI is proud of the capabilities we are bringing to this increasingly important class of vessel.”

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  1. I know up gunning the Arafura OPV is controversial, but if it were to occur, then a more capable radar than the basic Scanter 6002 would likely be needed. The next Scanter model up, the Scanter 4603 could suffice, but this new STAR-X 3D multi-mission naval radar sounds promising. It would offer more long-term potential at perhaps only a moderate cost increase.

    • I agree – though I can’t understand why up gunning them would be controversial, it’s a logical thing to do. As far as I can tell, Defence has not yet issued an RFT for a replacement 40mm main gun even though the contract with Leonardo was cancelled about 18 months ago.

  2. I suppose some consider it controversial because of the slow speed(20 knots) and cost involved and if considerable sums of money was to be spent, it may be better to spend it on a more suitable hull, e.g. type 31
    The Typhoon Mk-30c gun has already been signed up for Hunter-class frigates, so economies of scale would imply it could be a wise decision for the Arafuras. It was reported in Defence Technology Review that Rafael are offering the Typhoon Mk-30c with the option of integrated Spike ER when a request for tender for the Arafura is made.

    • Yes, I think the Rafael option is a good one but I still do not understand why the RAN simply did not go with the highly capable 57mm BAE Systems / Bofors gun (in widespread service, including with the USN) found on the parent design. With a more capable radar – as you suggest – the ships could also be equipped with canistserised NSM. There are plenty of corvettes around the world much smaller than the Arafura class – or similar to it – that have massively more firepower.

      • If you want a Corvette or small Frigate you build one you don’t build an OPV and then try to bodge it into becoming a Frigate. If you try that you will end up with a very expensive OPV that is cost prohibitive to maintain or a very poor Frigate that is too slow and a nightmare to program i.e. how does it maintain war fighting skills and meet its patrol commitments? Too many people playing top trumps with little understanding of the engineering and logistics impacts.

        • The parent Darussalam class for Brunei have a 57mm main gun, 4 canisterised Exocet MM40 Block 3 surface to surface missiles and 2 x 20mm cannon. Just returning to that proven, zero risk, in service, fully engineered configuration would be a huge improvement on that we have – which is basically nothing.

  3. Yes, the 57mm and NSM are both good options. I guess it comes down to balancing the perceived need, cost, extra manpower, maintenance and training.
    Janes is reporting STAR-X radar’s technical specifications include a maximum instrumented range in excess of 150 km, a detection range for low-flying attacking missiles out to more than 25 km, and a detection range for high-flying attacking fighter aircraft out to more than 60 km. It has a tracking capacity for more than 1,000 targets and an elevation coverage of 70°. The antenna weighs less than 350 kg. This performance may not be enough for NSM. The Thales NS50 is reported as having slightly better performance, but probably at extra cost. I guess we have to wait and see whether the new defence review will see the extra cost as being justified.

    • They are all excellent thoughts – to which I would like to add that I would be very interested in hearing from our local radar supplier CEA about what they can offer. They already have the interface with the Saab 9LV via the Anzac program, the future Hunters and the upgraded Hobart class – and CEAFAR is eminently scalable, both up and down. Do you know that the RAN is being so childish about the OPVs that they have banned the use of the term combat management system and that officially one can only refer to 9LV on the Arafuras as a Situational Awareness Tool? To think that we have been reduced to this level of pettiness….

  4. There seems to be a complete lack of any evidence in the public domain that CEA has anything on the drawing board for an OPV. They have down-scaled their radars for land use but even their website has nothing indicated for an OPV.
    It is interesting that the SAAB website has a report dated 2019 about “Next generation 9LV Situational Awarness System for Australian offshore patrol vessels”
    So, SAAB may have been using this phrase, instead of combat management system, years ago. It is probably a scaled down version of the 9LV system for the Arafura compared to the ANZAC, but even still, I’m not sure of the difference between the two.

  5. The initial reaction to the use of this phrase is the defence dept doesn’t want to concern our northern neigbours. However, is there a point at which a combat management system is cut down so much it then becomes a situational awareness system? Unlike the ANZAC’s, the Arafura was not intended to have anti ship missiles, VLS, Sonar, torpedoes, Nulka, 3D radar, offboard chaff, torpedo countermeasures system, Seahawk Romeo, etc. We all know that the Arafura has a version of the 9LV, but what version? We know it has to manage 2D air surveillance radar, EO/IR surveillance system, ESM and S-100 Camcopter and UUV ISR capabilities, as well as Link 11 and Link 16, SATCOM and RAN spec HF radio feeds, but it is never going to see combat.
    Does this make sense, or am I just playing with semantics and it is simply political?

    • No, you are absolutely correct. The program had its genesis around 2014 and a few powerful people in the bureaucracy – who I’m not going to name for legal reasons – absolutely laid down the law to the RAN that this ship was going to be a patrol vessel, not a combatant. The name OPV says it all. As strategic circumstances deteriorated from about 2018 onwards the capability requirements should have been reviewed and upgraded – but they never were, which in my opinion is a sad reflection on both the RAN and the Defence bureaucracy. A subset of this is the farce of the Leonardo 40mm main gun. The RAN took so little interest in what they were receiving that the company had already started delivering hardware – such as a simulator – before someone finally got around to informing both Leonardo and Luerssen of their previously undisclosed certification requirements, which are so onerous that they made the Leonardo solution unviable. I’m not making this up. Leonardo have put in a claim that seems perfectly justified for a $10 million break contract payment. How is it that the RAN and CASG allowed such a ridiculous situation to develop?

  6. back in 2018, Naval recognition( Xavier) asked for a comment from Leonardo about their 40mm gun. Their response is unedited:
    Navy Recognition: Has the system been tested at sea yet (if yes, when) has it been selected by a customer yet ? If not, how do you make sure that development costs won’t make your solution more expensive than its competition ?
    Leonardo: MARLIN 40 is a rearrangement of subassemblies already in service since decades in more than 300 units. No development costs are involved. MARLIN 40 is selected for an international OPV program, following competition, contract under finalization.

    Leonardo’s response makes it sound like at that stage(2018), everything was looking rosy.

    • Thanks for those quotes. Yes, the Leonardo solution was always developmental – and anyone who had more than a cursory look would have realised that. It is a travesty that no one in the RAN / CASG bothered doing so. The early preferred solution was the proven, in production, sold worldwide Bofors 40mm gun – but it was ditched in favour of Leonardo because theirs was much cheaper, rumoured to be about half price. You tend to get what you pay for.

  7. So it seems like we get a constant replay of the ANZAC for our fleet. Build something and hopefully 10 years later, weaponry is but a second thought. With this in mind I strongly suggest that looking at this video here; Before going much further. It lays out a clear pattern of logic in arming the Arafura.


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