A New Radar for Israel’s Missile Boats

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The first ALPHA - ELM-2258 radar installed on the first Hetz class Saar 4.5 missile boat. The new radar replaces the main search radar and, eventually, will augment and later replace the ELM-2221 weapon guidance radar seen on the right. Photo: IAI

The Israel Navy has recently equipped the first Saar 4.5 (Hetz Class) missile boat with a new, multi-mission, digital phased array radar system developed and produced in Israel by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Elta Systems. The Advanced Lightweight Phased Array (ALPHA, designated ELM-2258) radar system is the newest radar system installed on those missile boats, replacing the previous radar also developed by Elta in the 1980s. The missile boat has proceeded to operational sea trials. According to IAI, before the year ends the company plans to deliver two additional radars and, eventually deliver a total of 11 systems, all to be installed on the Navy’s missile ships.

In the future configuration, ALPHA is slated to replace several radars on board, including the main (search) radar, as well as other radars engaged with fire direction, self-protection etc.

As an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA), ALPHA rotates in the horizontal plan but produces a large number of simultaneous beams searching and tracking maritime and aerial targets. The system provides a high-quality situation picture in the most extreme marine environment. The radar can perform multiple, simultaneous tasks including detection and classification of naval targets, tracking of a large number of targets, and integration into guided missile systems for defense and attack etc. As a derivative of Elta’s maritime AESA radars, ALPHA is designed anks to its size, from small and medium-sized vessels such as the Saar 4.5, corvettes, and medium-sized patrol ships. In addition, the radar provides a solution for upgrading existing navy vessels or installation on new platforms.

The unique system will upgrade the operational capabilities of the Israeli Navy missile ships Saar 4.5 and Saar 5, and is able to support existing and future weapon systems, including the current generation of Barak-1 and new Barak-8. ALPHA will be an integrative part of the future operational capability of the vessels. The system provides one of the most advanced operational solutions in the field of naval situation picture and its light weight enables it to be installed on a large variety of maritime platforms.