The Netherlands Defence Materiel Organization and Thales Nederland signed in June 2012 an agreement to modify the four SMART-L long-range radars installed on the Royal Netherlands Navy's four De Zeven Provinciën class LCF air defence and command frigates.
Under the contract, the SMART-L radar will be optimized for the early detection of ballistic missiles. The range of the radars will be increased to over 1,000 kilometres and it will be able to be detect ballistic missiles.
Ballistic missiles are a serious threat because they are relatively inexpensive and can easily be equipped with weapons of mass destruction. Once launched, the extremely high velocity of these missiles makes them very difficult to eliminate. That is why a timely detection is essential.
SMART-L Early Warning Capability will be able to detect ballistic missiles shortly after launch, an early warning capability it will combine with its traditional air defence capability. SMART-L EWC will be able to detect and track several threats simultaneously and calculate each missile’s ballistic trajectory and estimate its point of impact and launch position. SMART-L EWC is a volume search radar which scans wide areas of airspace to detect missiles without external cues.
SMART-L is also used by the Danish, German and South Korean navies. The British, French and Italian navies use a derivative radar, the S1850M. Under NATO's Smart Defence initiative, the Netherlands is proposing that NATO navies upgrade their SMART-L radars for ballistic missile defence.