Naval radar could help crew react quicker to attacks

A new naval radar could shave vital seconds off the detection of enemy ships, allowing crew members to react quicker to an attack.

The TRS-4D system, developed by European defence firm Cassidian, is able to make the three radar detections needed to confirm the presence of an enemy ship in a single antenna revolution, rather than having to wait for the transmitter to rotate twice more.

To do this, an active electronically scanned array (AESA) simultaneously transmits multiple radar beams, allowing the signal to be deflected back towards the suspected ship once the initial detection has been made, while the antenna continues to rotate.

‘Normally, if you have a rotation time of two seconds, this results in a track-establish time of six seconds — maybe eight seconds if you have a miss in there,’ Hansjörg Roschmann, Cassidian’s head of sales for detection, told The Engineer.

‘This can establish and confirm a track in one rotation just by looking back several times… in a time of less than one second.

‘If you have a threat approaching your ship, gaining six seconds of additional decision time is the difference between dead and alive.’

The beam can be deflected by up to 50º by changing the phase of the radar signal as it is emitted from multiple sources across the antenna.

AESA technology uses Gallium Nitride-based solid-state electronics to control the beam.

Electronic scanning is used by some larger ships and fighter aircraft, but Cassidian has combined it with a mechanical radar platform to make it suitable for small to medium-sized ships weighing less than 4,500 tonnes.

‘This radar concept has been available before but the technology to implement such a thing in a small radar system has not been available,’ said Roschmann.