The Netherlands Defence Materiel Organization and Thales Nederland have signed a contract for the delivery and installation of an Integrated Mast that is to be installed on the Joint Logistic Support Ship (JSS). This Integrated Mast is an I-Mast 400, identical to those that are to be installed on four Patrol Ships for the Royal Netherlands Navy. The I-Mast 400 for the JSS will be built by the Royal Netherlands Navy in Den Helder in Flushing, while the subsystems will be built in and tested at the Thales plant in Hengelo and delivered to the Shipyard in January 2014.

The integrated mast is an alternative design approach to the traditional sensor layout on board naval vessels. One central mast structure houses most radar, optronic, and communication sensors and antennas as well as all cabinets and peripherals. The advantages of this sensor concept include better operational performance, higher operational availability, reduced ship-building time, reduced maintenance requirements and savings in below-deck space.

With the Integrated Mast concept the mast and equipment are built and tested in parallel to the ship. When the ship is ready, the mast is put on the ship as a turnkey system. It has a comparatively simple interface to the ship’s power supply, cooling water supply, combat system and mechanical deck structure, making installation a plug and play operation. The Integrated Mast requires considerably less maintenance than traditional sensors and contributes substantially to the reduced manning concept.

The sensors that can be incorporated in the Integrated Mast include: SMILE, a non-rotating phased-array S-band radar with four faces that is derived from the SMART and APAR radar systems; SEASTAR, a non-rotating active phased-array X-band radar for naval surface surveillance; and GATEKEEPER, a 360° panoramic electro-optical surveillance and alerter system based on IR/TV technology. SMILE and SEASTAR are marketed as SEAMASTER 400 and SEAWATCHER 100 for export markets.