The first of the Royal Navy's (RN’s) Type 45 destroyers, HMS Daring, has set sail on operational duty fitted with Thales UK's new fully digital radar electronic support measures (RESM) system.
The platform, the first of the Daring class, has been fitted with new digital antennas supplied by Thales as part of the UAT MOD 2 update programme. In conjunction with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), Thales has developed the direct radio frequency sampling and wideband digital receiver technology necessary to achieve a true digital antenna. This joint development required a six-year, multi-million pound research programme.
The technology provides excellent system performance in the modern dense radar envir-o¬n¬¬ment and is capable of managing multiple, truly simultaneous signals. This enables the ship to operate in all operational maritime theatres, including the littoral, and provides the RN with world-leading electronic warfare support and threat-identification technology.
By digitising at the antenna the majority of the receiver functionality is implemented as software and firmware algorithms. The system is therefore easily upgraded and new signal analysis tools are easily introduced, keeping the RESM capability current in a rapidly evolving operational environment. This approach also maximises the use of commercial off-the-shelf hardware, making the RESM significantly more reliable, easier to maintain and hence cheaper to own. To meet the operational requirements of the Type 45 programme Thales undertook an extremely challenging programme to provide the first two Type 45s with this critical technology. Thales delivered the programme, maturing the technology from the demon-strator phase through to platform acceptance in around 19 months.
The first system completed factory acceptance in November 2011; the installation, setting to work and harbour acceptance test were conducted in December. The system successfully completed sea trials in early January 2012. The second system, scheduled for HMS Diamond, is completing integration and is due to complete factory acceptance at the end of this month. Thales is currently the sole supplier of RESM equipment to the RN’s warship and submarine fleet.
Phil Naybour, head of Thales UK's naval business, says: "We continue to provide cutting edge electronic warfare technology to the RN, and the innovative technology in the UAT MOD 2 programme now digitises the environment right behind the antenna. The capability and flexibility of the associated processing algorithms means more capability for the navy now and in the future, while minimising through-life cost." Type 45 destroyers are also fitted with Thales UK’s fully integrated communications system, S1850M radar (with BAE Systems) and a conical log spiral UHF satellite com-mun¬ications antenna.