The Irish Navy will outfit two vessels with Kelvin Hughes’ SharpEye radar and MantaDigital radars over the next to years, as part of a bid to modernise the radars deployed on several of its vessels.
SharpEye is available in both S-band and X-band configurations. In S-band, the radar has a peak output power of 200 Watts, and an average output power of 20W. At a range of 20 nautical miles (twelve kilometres), the radar has a Pulse Repetition Frequency of 2,300 Hertz (Hz), which reduces to 1,180Hz at 48nm (89km). Up to 64 filters provide clutter discrimination, and the radar has optional frequency diversity. The X-band version of the radar has similar performance characteristics to its S-band cousin although the former’s average RF power is 26W. The Irish Navy is acquiring the S-band variant of the radar.
The roll-out of the SharpEye commenced in November 2012 when it was installed on the LÉ Niamh; a ‘Róisín’ class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV). Her sister, the LÉ Róisín, received her own SharpEye radar a few months later in 2013. Additional installations on board the LÉ Samuel Beckett and the LÉ James Joyce, both ‘Samuel Beckett’ class OPVs, are expected by 2015. Along with the SharpEye S-band radar, these two latter vessels will receive the MantaDigital X-band radar. The Irish Navy says that, at present, there are no plans to outfit additional vessels with new radars, although a spokesperson adds that “this may be reviewed subject to operational requirements.”
In terms of the radars in use onboard other Irish Navy vessels at present, it is known that the single ‘Eithne’ class OPV has a Thales DA-05/4 S-band surface search radar, along with a single Decca (now Northrop Grumman) TM-1229C and 1692C navigation radar. The two OPVs of the ‘Emer’ class are outfitted with a single Kelvin Hughes Mk.IV navigation and Mk.VI surface search radar, while the two ‘Peacock’ class coastal patrol vessels carry a Kelvin Hughes 500A surface search and Mk.IV navigation radar.