United Kingdom: Iron Lady

The Royal Navy’s Type-23 ‘Duke’ class frigate HMS Iron Duke has returned to service following an upgrade which has refitted her with BAE Systems’ new Type-997 ARTISAN (Advanced Radar Target Indication Situational Awareness and Navigation) air and sea surveillance radar.

Type-997 Artisan radar fitted to a mock-up of the Royal Navy's 'Queen Elizabeth' class aircraft carrier island superstructure. (BAE Systems)
Type-997 Artisan radar fitted to a mock-up of the Royal Navy’s ‘Queen Elizabeth’ class aircraft carrier island superstructure. (BAE Systems)

The radar was installed onboard the vessel in May 2013. The Type-997 replaces BAE Systems’ Type-996/AWS-9 S-band surveillance radar which equips all 13 Type-23 vessels in service with the Royal Navy, and the three frigates equipping the Armada de Chile (Chilean Navy).

Other radars installed onboard the Type-23 ships include a Kelvin Hughes Type-1007 navigation radar, and two BAE Systems Type-911 fire control radars for the ship’s MBDA Seawolf surface-to-air missiles.

The Type-997 is a three-dimensional, medium-range radar which makes significant use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf components. Its design is optimised for the detection of small surface and airborne targets, particularly in high clutter conditions. Alongside its surveillance role, the radar can be used for navigation and to provide Air Traffic Management (ATM).

In terms of performance, the radar rotates at a rate of 30 revolutions-per-minute. It has a horizontal beamwidth of 2.5º, and low sidelobes; built-in sidelobe blanking and frequency agility enhance the radar’s resistance to detection. The Type-997‘s maximum instrumented range is in the order of 200 kilometres (108 nautical miles) with the detection of an aircraft-sized target at 185km (100nm) and a missile at 27nm (50km). It provides 70º elevation coverage and the tracking of over 800 targets.

The Type-997 was selected by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD) in August 2008 to be rolled out onboard all Type-23 frigates, plus the Royal Navy’s two forthcoming ‘Queen Elizabeth’ class aircraft carriers, and the HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark ‘Albion’ class landing platform dock ships.

Onboard the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ class, the Type-997 radar will be used to perform ATM. The installation of the new  radar onboard the ‘Albion’ class will replace the Type-996 radars which are used by these ships, alongside two Kelvin Hughes Type-1007/8 radars employed for navigation and ATM.

The Type-997 radars will have completed their installation onboard the ‘Albion’ class by 2015.

Published by Thomas Withington

Thomas Withington is a writer and analyst specialising in electronic warfare, radar and military communications.

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