GEM Elettronica plans to commence sea trials of its MFRAD X-band (8.5-10.68 gigahertz) naval surveillance radar by the end of the year, the company disclosed at the IMDEX maritime defence exhibition and conference on 17th May.

Speaking to, the firm disclosed that sea trials of this radar are expected to commence onboard the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) ‘Sirio’ class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ITS Orione by the end of the year, with the view to bringing the radar to market in 2018. Although the Italian Navy has no formal programme to retrofit the remaining vessel of the ‘Sirio’ class with the MFRAD, the firm is confident that the MFRAD could prove to an attractive system for the ‘Comandanti’ and ‘Cassiopea’ classes of OPVs in the future, and is aiming this radar at navies operating OPV and corvette sized ships. At present, the ‘Sirius’ class uses the Selex/Leonardo RAN-30X/I X-band naval surveillance radar.

The radar uses a planar array and has a maximum instrumented range of circa 96 nautical miles (177.7km) according to the firm, with a maximum elevation coverage of circa 60 degrees and the capability to track around 300 targets. The radar can be integrated with a third-party identification friend or foe antenna which can be mounted on the rear of the antenna. The three-dimensional radar (altitude, azimuth and velocity) could experience further development in the next five years, according to the firm, with the possibility that it may form the basis for a fixed panel radar, whereas the present MFRAD design uses a rotating antenna.

by Thomas Withington