BAE Systems has unveiled a technology mast demonstrator designed for future warships, required to meet increasingly complex operational demands. The mast is a critical component of a modern warship and the technology mast demonstrator has been designed to combine long-range radar, numerous high power sensors and communications antennae and equipment in a way that minimises mutual interference. Other advantages of the mast are that it is light, tall, yet almost invisible (stealthy) to an enemy radar. The technology has been developed as a private venture by the company, in keeping with the MoD’s Smart Procurement approach.
The demonstrator mast will act as a test structure for the forthcoming Sampson radar to be installed in the Royal Navy’s next class of Destroyer, the Type 45, for which Bae Systems is Prime Contractor. It is also is suitable for evaluation at sea on trials vessels such as the DERA trimaran. Although the technology is designed primarily for use in the next generation of British warships, Type 45 Destroyers, Future Carrier and Future Surface Combatant, it could also be incorporated into the current fleet to maintain their operational effectiveness.
The new mast is designed to form a key component of the ship’s upper superstructure. It comprises a steel substructure clad in advanced Fibre Reinforced Plastic composite panels, which incorporate radar-absorbing layers. Sensors are installed in interchangeable modules mounted within the cladding. The philosophy of this mast is intended to support future surface warship designs and retrofit to existing ships.