The Qatar Armed Forces have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the selection of the Thales Searchmaster multirole surveillance radar. The selection was announced at the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (DIMDEX) held on 29th-31st March. The radar will equip Qatar’s Optionally Piloted Vehicles - Aircraft (OPV-A) Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) system for land and naval surveillance requirements.
Thales signed an MoU in 2014 to assist in development of the OPV-A and to deliver a full end-to-end training solution. The OPV-A platform has yet to be announced.
The radar, tailored to all platform types, meets the surveillance requirements of five mission types: ground surveillance, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, maritime surveillance and tactical air support. It features an AESA active electronic scanning antenna, based on technologies developed for the nose-mounted radar of the Rafale combat aircraft.
Searchmaster can be integrated on a wide range of platforms — Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAVs, helicopters for medium to heavy missions, and turboprop-powered special mission aircraft, providing them with multimission capabilities.
The system is designed to detect stationary and moving maritime targets, including in high sea states, at ranges up to 200 nautical miles (air-to-sea). It also provides very high-resolution radar imagery. It has been selected for retrofit on French Navy ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft.