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Saab Global

Greater power to smaller platforms

7 min read

Protecting and securing a maritime territory has always been fraught with difficulty. Today, more than ever, advanced technological development imposes the necessity for naval forces to operate in an environment that is increasingly complex, challenging and unpredictable. In such a setting, you need a heightened level of awareness, and the ability to detect, identify and counter a wide range of threats – fast and slow, conventional and unconventional. Sea Giraffe 1X radar is designed to provide the capabilities required to manage any  threats in any waters and make the Navies of the world better prepared for the increasingly complex and demanding naval environment.

Expecting the unexpected
Ensuring and successfully conducting naval operations has become an ever greater challenge as technological development create new threats and change the way we counter them to protect ourselves. To execute missions on vast open waters has always been a task for naval forces. Today, we can see a growing demand for solutions designed for missions closer to land where threats not only appear from below, above and on the surface, but also from land. If operating in the littorals, threats can rapidly emerge from an unexpected direction. It is in these challenging contexts that Saab’s Sea Giraffe 1X provides its greatest advantages.

Sea Giraffe 1X is a compact, lightweight multifunction surveillance radar operating on the x-band, designed to simultaneously provide high-level awareness in multiple domains against traditional and new threats. It is optimized for maritime security and force protection, but its capabilities reach well beyond these to serve the many dimensions of naval combat.

Sea Giraffe 1X is our most compact and flexible 3D AESA radar.  Its small size makes it adaptable to any kind of vessel, from small unmanned up to large vessels, such as frigates.

Sea Giraffe 1X is the perfect choice for platforms with limited space but high demands on performance. With a very low total system weight and minimal supporting infrastructure requirements, the system can swiftly be installed on a wide range of platforms. In short, Sea Giraffe 1X provide superior performance in its class.

Born and raised in the littorals
Sea Giraffe 1X is designed to operate in the challenging Scandinavian environment encompassing one of the world’s most complex archipelagos with more than 200 000 islands, offering endless obstacles and a demanding four-season climate. The Swedish archipelago is a perfect test environment for sophisticated radars, experience of which I have as a former naval officer. Regardless of season, extreme littoral warfare is a demanding environment carrying a strong drive for perfection. That's where our Sea Giraffe radars are born and raised.

"I know the extreme challenges that can be faced in coastal waters. I also know the benefits the compact and highly capable Sea Giraffe 1X radar brings to a vessel and its crew. Especially in an environment where threats can appear in an instant."
Tobias Birging, Product Manager Naval Domain

Raising the capability of maritime platforms 
Sea Giraffe 1X gives maritime platforms greater capability, making them better prepared to execute missions in the world’s littorals or at sea. It provides the ability to perform many different tasks – anything from traditional surveillance out in the open sea to missions in more coastal waters.  A perfect choice for littoral combat ships, patrol vessels, amphibious forces and coast guards looking for a system with higher performance, lower weight and significantly smaller footprint compared to traditional corresponding systems. It can also be placed on land or in the transition between land and sea to support, for instance, amphibious units with efficient, affordable and reliable surveillance and force protection capabilities.

Especially advantageous on smaller platforms
With its small footprint design, the Sea Giraffe 1X can provide small platforms with more advanced and powerful surveillance capabilities. One such platform is the CB90-class Fast Assault Craft, designed to operate at high speed in shallow and confined waters. Sea Giraffe 1X onboard such a small and agile platform provides capabilities previously only found on larger vessels and therefore becomes a true force multiplier.

“Based on almost seventy years of experience in radar development and close cooperation with customers we know how important it is to listen to those who rely on our systems for their security and mission success. Sea Giraffe 1X is an exceptionally good example of a solution that is fully developed with these experiences and insights in mind.”
Tobias Birging, Product Manager Naval Domain

The multirole advantage
Sea Giraffe 1X provides simultaneous detection and tracking of air- and surface targets, including drones as well as sea-skimming missiles with very small radar cross-section. This means that even in condensed and congested mission environments where threats can appear without warning and at short distances, Sea Giraffe 1X will instantly provide the advantage of being first to detect them and first to act – crucial for mission success.

Quality cannot be compromised
The Sea Giraffe 1X is an X-band, short to medium range, multifunction 3D radar with AESA technology. With its high update rate, 60 RPM, an instrumented range of 100 km and a volume coverage of 70 degrees, the Sea Giraffe 1x is characterized by its fast, accurate and consistent detection of targets with very small radar cross section in both the air and surface domains. The engagement quality data provided by the system is accurate and qualified for target designation to the weapon systems. Sea Giraffe 1X is also featured with an automatic tracking functionality that supports the operator in performing any task in any situation.

The value of low weight
When developing a radar-, weapon- or any other system for use on a naval platform of any sort, weight and size will always be an issue. The user naturally wants to provide the vessel with the most powerful capabilities possible without altering its centre of gravity or degrading its ability in the water in any way. That is why we developed Sea Giraffe 1X with lightweight efficiency in mind and without any compromises between size, weight, and performance.

Low system weight, together with very low power consumption, makes the well-established Sea Giraffe 1X suitable for use not only on smaller vessels and highly manoeuvrable forces, but also as an additional radar on larger ships. For example, the rotating Sea Giraffe 1X can work together with the Fixed Face version of the Sea Giraffe 4A in a Multi Sensor Solution providing optimum overlapping performance and redundancy for air and surface surveillance. Such a solution is part of Saab’s combat system delivery to the Finnish Navy's new Pohjanmaa-class corvettes as well as an order for modernization of the German Navy’s F123 frigates.


A unique configuration of the Sea Giraffe 1X is the Deployment Set: a self-contained transportable solution for navies or amphibious forces that enables fast and flexible use of the system. Deployment Set can be transported by a vessel or a pick-up truck to a suitable location and swiftly deployed in order to provide instant air-, surface surveillance.

Giraffe 1X Deployment Set

Simplicity – with the user in mind
Sea Giraffe 1X is designed with ease of use and ease of maintenance in focus and developed in close cooperation with the Swedish armed forces. This means it is easy to learn and operate – crews only need a few days of training to understand how to handle and maintain the radar.

Support all the way
By leveraging the standardized baseline components within the well-established Sea Giraffe product line with a high production capability, Saab can offer an effective service and support solutions as well as software upgrades specially designed to meet the needs of Sea Giraffe 1X customers.

Future-proofed step-by-step
Saab’s philosophy regarding sensor development is based on a spiral development concept. This means that there is a continuous, step-by-step development process benefitting the user continuously during the entire lifetime of the system. Most of the development work takes place in the software which facilitates future upgrades, continuous and affordable capability growth, and increased flexibility. And as needs evolve, we can design new software to give Sea Giraffe 1X new or improved functionality.

A shared future
The ability to understand and formulate requirements, to define, develop and produce naval sensor solutions is important for a nation’s security. At Saab, we are proud to be part of that capability and to be able to develop it together with our customers.


Sea Giraffe 1X in brief

  • Total weight less than 150 kg
  • Topside weight 100 kg
  • 100 km instrumented range
  • High update rate (using 60 rpm)
  • X Band

Article author


Tobias Birging

Product Manager Naval Domain, Business Area Surveillance.

Former Naval officer within the Swedish Armed Forces with experience from national and international operations.