Quick Facts

Role and Mobility Wide Area Search, Long-Range detection of conventional aircraft and medium-range detection of small stealth missiles; Ship-mobile
Frequency L-Band
Range 400 km
Air Defense Interceptor Systems Principle Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS)
Targets Aircraft, Ballistic Missiles, Stealth Targets,
Status/Exports Operational; France, Italy, and the United Kingdom
Producer BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies


The S1850M, originally named SMARTELLO, is a long-range passive electronically scanned array radar used for wide area search.[i] It is a modified version of the Thales Nederland SMART-L radar, boasting a higher rotation speed, improved anti-jamming capabilities, a flexible signal processor and local consoles.[ii] With a range of 400 km, it is capable of tracking up to 1,000 targets simultaneously, including stealth targets. Currently, the S1850M is used by British Type 45 destroyers and French and Italian Horizon class destroyers that are equipped with Aster 15 and 30 interceptors for air and missile defense.[iii]

Strategic Implications

The S1850M radar is an especially valuable radar during times of war with multiple incoming threats as it can track up to 1,000 threats simultaneously. For example, it demonstrated this ability during testing when it tracked all aircraft coming into Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, Schiphol, and Frankfurt airports and still had spare capacity.[iv] Also, its ability to track outer atmosphere objects at short-range make it an invaluable part of a Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system. As a long-range surveillance radar, the S1850M radar identifies and tracks aerial threats and then engages the fire control radar, European Multifunction Phased Array Radar (EMPAR) for the French and Italian ships and the SAMPSON multifunction radar for the British ships to provide information on the threat’s trajectory and calculate a firing solution. This radar allows ships to scan large volumes of air space without external cues enabling earlier detection and a better change of intercepting threats.[v]

Recent News


    August 2015: HMS Queen Elizabeth’s S1850M long-range air search radar went live for testing.

    January 2011: Thales was awarded an 18-month contract for the maintenance and support of the S1850M volume search radars installed on the Royal Navy’s Type 45 Daring Class vessels.[vi]

    February 2009: United Kingdom selected Thale’s S1850M radar for new aircraft carriers.

    June 2005: The United Kingdom bought a follow-on contract for seven S1850M radars.

    April 2005: The first S1850M radar was in full operation at the Horizon Short Integration Facility in Toulon, France.

    January 2005: First S1850M radar shipped to France for Horizon frigate program.

    2003: Delivery of the first S1850M radar system.

    2001: Initial rate production of the S1850M began.

    March 2001: BAE Systems announces selection of S1850M radar for UK Type 45 destroyer program.[vii]

    1994: The S1850M radar system was selected to replace the French Astral radar as the primary long-range search radar for the Anglo-Italian-French Common New Generation Frigate.


    [i] https://www.forecastinternational.com/archive/disp_pdf.cfm?DACH_RECNO=758

    [ii] http://www.deagel.com/Sensor-Systems/S1850M_a001222002.aspx

    [iii] https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/worldwide/defence/smart-l-ewc

    [iv] https://www.forecastinternational.com/archive/disp_pdf.cfm?DACH_RECNO=758

    [v] https://navaltoday.com/2012/06/29/the-netherlands-thales-to-optimize-smart-l-radar-for-early-detection-of-ballistic-missiles/

    [vi] https://www.naval-technology.com/news/news107283-html/

    [vii] https://www.forecastinternational.com/archive/disp_pdf.cfm?DACH_RECNO=758