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World Defense Show 2024: First NiDAR CUAS set for combat ships

6th February 2024 - 12:30 GMT | by Damian Kemp in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


The first ship in the deal will be expected to see installation completed in 2026. (Image: MARSS)

NiDAR has already been operational on M/V Asterix, a naval auxiliary ship to the Royal Canadian Navy, marking the first time the system was put to use on a NATO-associated vessel.

The MARSS NiDAR surface and CUAS air surveillance system will be installed on a combat naval vessel for the first time, a sign of increasing interest in such a system in the face of attacks on ships in the Red Sea and concepts of operations being deployed in the Ukraine-Russia war.

The US$20 million deal with an undisclosed customer in South East Asia has been described by MARSS as for “multiple corvette class vessels” with the first ship to be fitted out by 2026 and the remainder of the undisclosed number of ships by 2029.

The NiDAR system will fuse a range of new and legacy sensors – including sonar, navigational radars and infrared cameras – into a single user interface, to provide a means of detecting and classifying underwater and surface threats, towards the corvettes when in transit, at anchor and at port.

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The system was first installed on a naval vessel in 2023 but in that case it was on the M/V Asterix, a naval auxiliary ship to the Royal Canadian Navy. However, the effort provided an important proof of concept for the system which is also designed for and used with static sites or as a mobile system.

Rob Balloch, MARSS chief growth officer described the contract as “a major leap for MARSS Group to find itself on board combat ships for the first time, providing class-leading protection [at lower cost] and NiDAR technology will be on the front line to support and protect [navy personnel].”

Nabil Alnoor Borhanu told Shephard at the World Defense Show 2024 in Riyadh this week that the company was looking opportunities worldwide with many navies looking for a capability to protect against UAS attacks in the current geopolitical environment.

The company announced a contract for RADiRguard fixed site CUAS system at the show. The system is for a critical infrastructure site in the Middle East, a region described by Borhanu as the company’s second largest.

Additionally, the company also noted that the development of Interceptor CUAS UAVs was well advanced with one design at TRL7 in the research and development process and within 12 months of possible delivery. The company added there was “an initial customer set there”.

On the civil side, MARSS will soon announce a US$4 million contract to install a NiDAR CUAS and surface detection system onboard a 120m superyacht and a 70m support ship with the installation on the former expected in the first half of 2024 and the one for the latter ship being installed in the second half of the year.

Shephard's World Defense Show 2024 coverage is sponsored by:

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Damian Kemp


Damian Kemp

Damian Kemp has worked in the defence media for 25 years covering military aircraft, defence …

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