Active Phased Array Radar (APAR)

- , June 1, 2018

Quick Facts

Role and Mobility Air and Surface Target Tracking, Horizon Search, Volume Search, Surface Naval Gunfire Support, and Missile Guidance; Ship-Mobile
Frequency X-Band
Range 150 km
Air Defense Interceptor Systems Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) and SM-2 Block IIA Missile
Targets Supersonic High-Divers, Supersonic Sea Skimmers, and Stealth Targets
Status/Exports Operational; Germany, Denmark, and Canada
Producer Thales Nederland


The Active Phased Array Radar (APAR) is a shipborne multifunction three-dimensional (3D) radar, making it the first naval Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.[i] APAR has four fixed sensor arrays fixed on a pyramidal structure providing air and surface target tracking, horizon search, limited volume search, and missile guidance for the ships where it is deployed.[ii] Currently, APAR is operational on the four “De Zeven Provincien” class frigates of the Royal Netherlands Navy, three “Sachsen” class frigates of the German Navy, and three Patrol Ships of the Iver Huitfeldt class of the Danish Navy.[iii]

Strategic Implications

APAR is typically paired with Thales Nederland’s SMART-L Passive Electronically Scanned Array (PESA) radar, which operates at the L-Band frequency. The SMART-L radar is optimized for long-range detection and tracking, while APAR provides medium range high accuracy tracking of targets, horizon search, and missile guidance function.[iv] The combination of the two radars, one at the X-Band frequency and one at the L-Band frequency, provides the optimal combination of complementary capabilities.


March 2013: Raytheon demonstrates dual-band datalink integration with Thales’ APAR

August 2004: A Germany Navy Frigate successfully completed a series of live missile firings using APAR

November 2003: APAR’s missile guidance system completed a successful test

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