Thales begins Sea Fire radar production for French FTI frigate

French defense technology company Thales announced it has started production works on the first Sea Fire radar for the French Navy’s FTI future medium-size frigates.

Sea Fire radar at the integration facility in Limours, France. Photo: Thales

The Sea Fire is fully solid-state multifunction radar with a four-panel phased array antenna.

According to the company, it is designed for roles ranging from ship self-defense to extended air defense, providing protection from conventional, asymmetric and emerging air and surface threats.

The French defence procurement agency (DGA) awarded the FTI contract to develop and build five 4000 tons frigates to Naval Group in April 2017. The first of these five vessels will be delivered in 2023 and will enter active service in 2025.

The Sea Fire radar concept is the culmination of three years of advanced research into new radar technologies and architectures, conducted with the support of the DGA. It is tailored to evolving requirements and the new threats faced by the French Navy, particularly supersonic missiles. This digital radar is at the forefront of technological innovation and benefits from all Thales’s Big Data and cybersecurity expertise. Subsequent software developments will further improve the product’s performance and operational reliability throughout its lifecycle.

Thales says the first radar is to be installed for qualification testing at the DGA facilities in Saint-Mandrier in 2019. The company will deliver the four panels of the first Sea Fire radar to Naval Group’s shipyard in Lorient in 2020 for the FTI program.