Radical Radar Spots at the Speed of Sound

800 objects at once, spotting tiny items travelling at the speed of sound and five times more efficient.

These are just some of the amazing accolades of Artisan, the new medium range 3D surveillance radar which has been developed for the Royal Navy by BAE Systems. The most sophisticated system ever developed for the fleet is for Type 23 frigates and is capable of cutting through interference equivalent to 10,000 conflicting mobile phone signals.

The Artisan radar has been successfully installed on HMS Iron Duke and is able to detect something as small as a tennis ball travelling at three times the speed of sound, more than 25km away. HMS Iron Duke is the first ship in the class to receive the new radar as part of her five-yearly refit which will ensure she remains at the cutting edge of naval warfare when she returns to service next year.

Swiftly and easily installed, the radar is made out of the same lightweight carbon glass fibre materials found in Formula 1 racing cars. Weighing no more than 700kg, it is designed to take a single team of engineers just 21 days to fit – a vast improvement on other predecessor systems.

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The system’s supreme accuracy and anti-jamming capability means that it has been designated by the Royal Navy for the £100 million programme to equip the Type 23 frigates, amphibious ships and the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers where it will support Air Traffic Management. It is also being proposed for the new Type 26 frigates, which are due to come into service after 2020.

Artisan sets new standards in surveillance and tracking accuracy, improving performance in a variety of situations within air and surface defence. The radar system is equipped to detect smaller and quicker targets against a background of electronic noise and interference that can affect radar efficiency and is able to navigate its way through environments that are densely populated by other signals.

Another major advantage of Artisan is the breadth and range of targets it can track. The system is capable of monitoring more than 800 objects simultaneously – from the very small to the largest aircraft carriers and destroyers – at a range of between 200 and 200,000 metres.

Rory Fisher, Managing Director of BAE Systems Maritime Services said: “We are playing a key role in helping the fleets of the future evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of the battlespace, creating technology solutions that are quicker, lighter, more resilient and easier to implement than ever before.”

Rory concluded: “We are tremendously excited by the successful installation of Artisan on HMS Iron Duke which marks a significant milestone in the wider programme and we’re proud of our continuing partnership with the Royal Navy and the role we are playing in delivering first-class radar performance.”

Source: BAE Systems PLC (LSE: BAES.L)
Date: Mar 6, 2013