The Belgian Navy has awarded a contract to Thales Netherlands to supply two Seastar and Gatekeeper sensors for installation on the navy’s two multipurpose M Class frigates.

The Seastar and Gatekeeper sensors enable the vessels to detect small targets during missions, and to fight against frontier-running, pollution, drugs trafficking and piracy.

The two new sensors will work together with the already-deployed SMART-S (signal multibeam acquisition radar for tracking) surveillance radar and the separate track and illuminating radar, a weapon control radar on board the M-frigates.

The Seastar, a non-rotating active phased array radar used for naval surface surveillance and helicopter guidance, automatically detects and tracks asymmetric threats and very small objects such as swimmers and periscopes in all climatic conditions.

Based on infrared / TV technology, Gatekeeper is a 360° panoramic electro-optical surveillance and alerter system designed to counter emerging asymmetric threats.

The system also increases short-range situational awareness in littoral environments.

Modernisation work on the M-frigate upgrade programme will be carried out in between 2011 and 2013.