UK’s XV Patrick Blackett tests new navigation radar

Royal Navy experimentation ship XV Patrick Blackett is testing new radars and software for better-supported solution to the equipment currently used by the fleet.

Royal Navy

The vessel had the two pieces of kit strapped to its deck for a series of tests and trials along the south coast.

The larger of the two radars, RT1084 currently installed on Type 23 frigates, is used to support navigation while the smaller RT1083 system is destined to replace the existing RT1007 for navigation and aviation used across multiple ships, including Hunt-class minehunters.

In a first for the navy and the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the radar was loaded on to Patrick Blackett for a thorough assessment ahead of its installation.

Royal Navy

In the past, the equipment would have gone from the factory floor to testing ashore and then onto the desired ship and any problems would have had to be sorted in the field – or force the ship to return to port.

“Testing new equipment such as the radars is one of the reasons Patrick Blackett was procured by NavyX,” Blackett’s commanding officer Commander Michael Hutchinson said.

“We have at our disposal a dedicated testbed that we can use to support these sort of trials. It means we don’t have to take up the time of the Type 45s or 23s. We can get as much evidence as possible for the full replacement programme by taking these radars to sea and using them in real-world scenarios.”

The two radars have been loaded onto a PODS (Persistent Operational Deployment System) to replicate the height they would be on the Hunt-class ships, with all the software, wires and data screens able to be stored inside when not in use for the trials.

This trial comes two weeks after Patrick Blackett worked with Imperial College London to test a quantum navigation system.

Royal Navy

Commander Hutchinson added: “The ship has demonstrated in the past few weeks that it can work on future technologies very much in the early stages of development, but with the huge potential, all the way through to equipment that we need in the here and now.”

To remind, the UK’s experimental ship went on its sea trials in February this year. The 270-tonne vessel, which bears the name of the former Royal Navy Officer and Nobel Prize Winner Patrick Blackett, is paving the way for advanced experimentation, innovation, and future capabilities within the Royal Navy.

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