World-Beating Sampson Radar Reconfigured
(Source : BAE Systems ; issued Jan.10, 2000)


BAE SYSTEMS has completed further development of the configuration of the SAMPSON multi-function active phased array air defence radar to produce a highly innovative near-spherical design, which retains the original two arrays internally.

There are a number of benefits from this new approach, which is part of the design process for the application of SAMPSON on the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyers. These include even lower wind resistance than the earlier configurations, simplified manufacturing and enhanced consistency of performance.

Earlier studies highlighted the attractiveness of this approach. Detailed work over the last few months resolved associated engineering and manufacturing issues, enabling this near-spherical configuration to be realised.

SAMPSON's active radar array antenna comprises thousands of small, solid-state transmitter and receiver units. These are mounted at the face of the antenna, vastly reducing the energy losses, which limit the performance of conventional systems. It supports point and area defence against current and future air threats in an environment of heavy jamming and land and sea clutter.

The computer-based management system can shape and point the radar beam instantaneously in any direction. This, coupled with its ability to change or adapt the radar characteristics in real time in response to threats and operating conditions, enables SAMPSON to perform a number of tasks simultaneously, eliminating the need for several separate systems.

It is the first radar in the world to use digital adaptive beam forming, which makes it virtually immune to all forms of electronic jamming. Its modular design reduces the initial purchase price and through-life support costs and significantly increases availability.

SAMPSON is the result of 20 years' work ­ in collaboration with the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency ­ on the Multi-Function Electronically Scanned Adaptive Radar (MESAR) programme. This has provided fundamental understanding and the hardware needed to underwrite the system's performance and benefits.

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