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UK looks beyond Crowsnest for maritime early warning

13th May 2021 - 11:36 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


What kind of naval early warning system will emerge in the UK to replace Crowsnest? (Graphic: DASA)

Carrier Strike Groups and Littoral Strike Groups will need a new kind of early warning capability beyond 2029, the UK MoD believes.

The UK RN and Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) launched the Look out! Maritime Early Warning Innovations initiative on 11 May, as they search for proposals to replace the Crowsnest airborne early warning system installed on the Merlin Mk2 helicopter.

Currently, the MoD plans to take the delay-plagued Crowsnest out of service in 2029.

Existing maritime early warning capabilities for RN task groups are provided by airborne sensors mounted aboard airborne platforms. According to DASA, the current assumption for a follow-on solution to Crowsnest is a ‘singular large radar sensor mounted on an uncrewed air platform’.

DASA ‘welcomes alternatives that are not based on this approach and match or exceed current airborne capabilities’, it announced on 11 May.

In particular, DASA wants to receive innovative proposals to enhance horizon surveillance plus airborne and naval surface target detection; operational effectiveness ‘through timely processing and dissemination of information’ among various airborne and naval platforms; and operational efficiency ‘through optimisation of system functionality’ to reduce the workload on personnel.

There is £1.25 million ($1.75 million) available in Phase 1 of the competition, with up to £250,000 for each funded proposal.

The closing date for proposals is 6 July 2021.

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