QinetiQ and its partners AMS and Roke Manor Research have begun work on the Advanced Radar Technology Integrated System Test-bed (ARTIST). This £8.1 M UK contract is to build a research demonstrator system and assess techniques to support the next generation of maritime multifunction radar (MFR). The 44-month programme includes preliminary testing in the UK with more extensive trials taking place in a follow-on programme.

The ARTIST programme involves collaboration with the US and one of the outputs of the venture will be a demonstrator test-bed for each nation — the UK ARTIST and the US ARTIST. The UK programme is funded by the MOD UK Director Equipment Capability — Above Water Effects, and was placed on its behalf by the Research Acquisition Organisation. The US Navy is funding the US programme and the work will be undertaken by Lockheed Martin.

The UK ARTIST system will be developed, built and evaluated by the UK team, and the outcome will contribute to decisions on performance improvements to existing and planned radar systems, including for the Type 45 destroyer and other future platforms. The UK team is pursuing battle-winning technology for high stability signal generation, advanced signal processing and radar management to support the detection of very small targets in dense clutter.

Paul Wrobel, QinetiQ’s director of naval programmes, said: “The ARTIST programme builds on the UK team’s significant track record in maritime radar research, which includes the Multifunction Electronically Scanned Adaptive Radar (MESAR) programmes and the Sampson radar system. QinetiQ’s expertise in radar and the ability to take research through to technology has been recognised with the award of this contract.”