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Saab wins U.S. Navy radar contract

Sept. 20, 2011 at 5:40 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Swedish defense manufacturer Saab will supply the U.S. Navy multi-role naval surveillance radar system Sea Giraffe AMB as part of the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship Program.

Saab won the contract through its U.S. subsidiary Saab Sensis Corp., which manages the U.S. baseline of Sea Giraffe AMB, and will provide program management hardware and software adaptations, system integration, testing, and total life cycle support to the Littoral Combat Ship Program.

Saab hailed the contract as an important breakthrough for the company's naval radar system in the United States.

"We are very proud to have been selected to be part of the LCS team," Micael Johansson, senior vice president and head of Saab electronic defense systems said.

The Navy began considering the construction and introduction of small combat ships with a displacement of 500-600 tons about 10 years ago. Early plans proposed having vessels with an operational range of 4,000 miles and a maximum speed of 50-60 nautical miles per hour.

Estimates that each ship would cost about $90 million were quickly revised as spending on the program soared.

U.S. defense planners at the time wanted the Navy to pursue a new class of small, stealthy "Littoral Combatant Ship" to support troops ashore and to conduct anti-mine, intelligence and reconnaissance operations.

The Sea Giraffe AMB -- Agile Multi-Beam -- 3-D naval surveillance radar provides medium-range, multi-mission capability including 3-D surveillance of simultaneous air and surface targets and weapons.

The Sea Giraffe also provides the proven, mature capabilities for periscope detection and splash spotting. Advanced signal processing allows the system to repeatedly demonstrate highly reliable detection of very small targets such as sea skimmers, anti-ship and anti-radiation missiles, small UAVs, mortars and swarming small craft.

The system is suitable for all typical naval environments including littoral and blue-water operations. Current Sea Giraffe is in use in the Swedish, Polish, Canadian, Australian and United Arab Emirates navies.

The total number of vessels involved with the radar order wasn't immediately clear but the specifications suggested the ships would most likely be deployed in areas with active military personnel in various stages of deployment, including Africa and the Middle East.

Saab Sensis, which has headquarters in East Syracuse, N.Y., provides sensors, information technology and simulation and modeling to the world's militaries, air navigation service providers, civil aviation authorities, airports, and airlines. The company says its products and solutions are deployed around the world.

Saab is currently in the race for Brazil's FX-2 jet fighter replacement program with its Gripen fighter, alongside the Boeing Co.'s FA-18 Super Hornet and Dassault Aviation's Rafale jet fighter.

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