Monster Machines: The World's Most Advanced Radar

The modern naval battlefield is a cacophony of electromagnetic energy with active and jamming signals competing for dominance amid the din. This new 3D radar system, however, cuts through the static of war to accurately track nearly 1000 tennis ball-sized incoming threats, which might be moving at Mach 3, from 24km away.

Known as the Artisan 3D, this medium-range 3D surveillance radar, developed by BAE Systems, is designed to replace the Type 996 surveillance and target indication radar. It's reputedly the single most advanced radar system on Earth.

The E/F frequency band radar array has a solid state transmit module and measures 140cm tall, 400cm wide and 160cm deep. It weighs a scant 680kg, thanks to its carbon fibre glass construction (the same used in F1 racecar shells), allowing a single team to install the system in as little as three weeks. Its performance is simply unmatched.

All the electronic interference barely phases the Artisan 3D. The system can shrug off the electromagnetic equivalent of 10,000 mobile phone signals to spot, ID and track up to 900 tennis ball-sized objects (which happen to be the cross-section of incoming ship killer missiles) moving at three times the speed of sound at distances up to 25km. Its overall range runs between 200m and 200km, though only larger ship-sized objects will ping at that distance. Even so, the system will greatly improve the British Navy's air defence, surface defence and air traffic control.

The first such Artisan 3D unit is currently being installed on the £140 million HMS Iron Duke Type 23 frigate. The Royal Navy plans to also outfit the remaining Type 23's, Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, and Albion and Ocean class Assault Ships in the coming months and years as part of a £100 million Ministry of Defence program. The system is so advanced, it's already being integrated into plans of the new Type 26 frigates that won't even enter service until 2020.

[BAE, BAE, Gizmag, Naval Technology]

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