BAE Systems has installed a new radar system on HMS Iron Duke that can cut through interference equivalent to 10,000 conflicting mobile phone signals and detect objects as small as a tennis ball travelling at three times the speed of sound, more than 25 kilometres away.
HMS Iron Duke is the first ship in the class to receive the Artisan medium range 3D surveillance radar as part of her five-yearly refit.
The radar system can 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.
It can monitor 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.
Chris Jones, Project Manager, Cowes site, said: “Using some of the designs of the Sampson radar built here for the Type 45 Destroyers, the team have further pushed the boundaries of innovation. An examples is the development of the light weight composite Antenna housing to meet the customer’s key weight constraints and exploited new technologies to transmit signals from the Antenna at the top of the mast to the Processing located lower in the ship.”
Following the completion of sea trials, scheduled during May and June, the programme will move into the manufacturing phase with the remaining systems being delivered at three month intervals through to the end of 2015.
Artisan 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.
It is made of the same lightweight carbon glass fibre materials found in Formula 1 racing cars. Weighing no more than 700 kilogrammes, it is designed to take a single team of engineers just 21 days to fit.
Rory Fisher, managing director of BAE Systems Maritime Services, said: “BAE Systems is 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.”