Former BAE Systems staff meet on the Cowes site

Visitors were treated to a demonstration of the Artisan radar which is currently being tested on a mock-up of the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) Carrier radar platform on the Isle of Wight. Artisan is the next generation medium range surveillance radar for the Royal Navy and can identify over 900 targets the size of a tennis ball travelling at three times the speed of sound at distances of over 25km.  

The ex-Managing Directors were also told how Artisan has recently been fitted to HMS Iron Duke as part of the Type 23 Frigate upgrade programme.  They were impressed to learn how the most sophisticated radar in the Royal Navy Fleet can be installed in 21 days by a single team of skilled engineers. They also learnt that the difference in the number of equipment cabinets was stark, with modern radars needing far less space due to their much higher software content.

Many of the land and maritime radar kits which previous MDs had sold, particularly in the international market are still being supported and providing excellent service to their customers.

Most impressive was the Sampson radar and its build facility. Most of the visitors had been part of the defining MESAR technology programmes which started at the very end of the 1970s, with the final ship of the T45 fleet, HMS Duncan, having recently entered service.

The tour was completed with an update on the new radar programmes being developed for customers including those which eradicates radar interference from wind farms.  

Peter Venton, Managing Director in the late 80’s and 90’s said: “I am extremely impressed with the technology and the design capabilities at Cowes; production looks very neat and clean. I look forward to coming back in the future to see some more fantastic work going on.”

Les Gregory, Product and Training Services Director said: “The Cowes facility has a long and successful defence heritage and I’m proud to demonstrate the innovative solutions in radar technology that are designed and built here.”

The day was attended by five previous Cowes Directors, Peter Venton, John Hakes, John Coldwell, Frank O’Nians, Vic McMullen and Eddie Groves who was Senior Field Services Director and is the Cowes Veterans Co-Ordinator.