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Old 30th Jun 2020, 13:24
  #59 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 85
Crowsnest Follow On

The following assumes I haven't gone mad due to the lockdown.

I understand the Merlin OSD is in 2030, so Crowsnest will only have a fully operational lifespan of seven years on its intended platform. I trust the follow on is already under consideration. Will Crowsnest just be fitted to another new platform (40 years after the radar's initial incarnation in Nimrod MR.2) a la AN/APS-20 or will a completely different solution be looked at?

Ignoring current budgetary constraints (and my technical ignorance) should the RN be looking at an AI-enabled STORVL RPV/UAV AESA solution? Among those nations with current or planned (pseudo-)carriers (USN, PLAN excepted), I believe only Italy currently has a ship based AEW/ASAC capability - also EH101s. So unless they all intend to rely on landbased AEW in the long term, presumably there is a market outside the UK.

The Merlin solution is hampered by service ceiling (c. 15,000') I understand a Chinook could go 5,000' higher and Osprey another 5,000' more. A simplistic view maybe but height increases detection range, doesn't it? So ideally a follow on would have a much higher ceiling.

Constraints that I can see immediately are size and weight of radar and data transmission systems (both command and radar picture), ability to provide sufficient electrical power. The need to adapt a current or in development platform. Existence of secure, robust data link with sufficient bandwidth. Room for the necessary processing systems and for the baggers to work onboard ship. I am assuming it would be possible and more efficient to transmit the raw output and process onboard ship.

I assume lack of an aircrew could increase time on station, potentially if the system is cheap enough you could deploy more platforms at longer distances from the CTG to increase coverage further?

Thoughts from the experts and others please?

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