Netherlands – Come Up And See Me, Make Me SMILE

The Koninklijke Marine (Royal Netherlands Navy) will complete testing of the Thales SMILE air and sea search surveillance radar equipping its HNLMS Holland offshore patrol vessel by May next year.

Testing will conclude prior to the ship performing an expected deployment to either the Caribbean or Somalia to support anti-narcotics and anti-piracy missions there.

The SMILE radar is housed within the vessels’ Thales I-Mast 400 integrated mast which adorns the vessel and contains its high Frequency, ultra-high frequency, Ku- and X-band conventional and satellite communications, Plath DFA-2450 Communications Intelligence (COMINT) system and Thales SeaStar X-band surveillance radar. Although the Plath system enables the ship to perform COMINT, she does not carry an integral electronic surveillance measure for radar detection. Both SMILE and SeaStar are alternative designations for the Thales SeaWatcher-100 (SeaStar) and SeaMaster-400 (SMILE).

Onboard the Holland, the SMILE is tasked with performing wide-area, long-range surveillance; with the SeaStar used for the shorter-range detection of smaller targets. The SeaStar also to provides fire control for the ships’ OtoMelara 76mm (2.9in) SuperRapid and 30mm (1.17in) Marlin-WS armament by performing splash detection. Alongside the two Thales radars, the HMNS Holland is outfitted with two Consilium X-band and S-band navigation radars.

Thales engineers were onboard the ship on 23rd November during a vist by ChainHomeHigh. They were performing the final tests of the SMILE radar including calibration experiments using a leased civilian Bombardier Learjet business jet. These tests are being used to complete the production of the software standard which will be loaded into the SMILE radars equipping the other three vessels in the ‘Holland’ class, principally the HNLMS ZealandFrieslandand Groningen. Tests of the SeaStar radar are now complete, with its software standard expected to be signed off by the end of the year.

A rare chance to see the rear of one of the Thales SMILE Antennas equipping the Royal Netherlands Navy’s HNLMS Holland offshore patrol vessel (Copyright – ChainHomeHigh)


Published by Thomas Withington

Thomas Withington is a writer and analyst specialising in electronic warfare, radar and military communications.

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