Kelvin Hughes

Helicopter Control Radar

Helicopter Control Radar

Kelvin Hughes has been certified by the UK Military Aviation Authority as an RA1027 Air Traffic Management (ATM) equipment organisation, approved to design, manufacture and provide ATM equipment. The certification was awarded following successful use of the company’s SharpEye™ solid state radar to control helicopter approach and landing on deployed naval vessels.

SharpEye™ replaces the need for a transponder system, for example Reply Receiver Type B (RRB). Typically, the Helicopter and the ship’s RRB system have to interact to provide a means to reliably track the aircraft in adverse weather. With SharpEye™ however, the ship’s Operations Room can confidently and accurately manage the air space and talk each helicopter into land on the ship without the need for a secondary radar like RRB.

One of the key characteristics of SharpEye™ is its high performance in bad weather and low visibility conditions, resulting from its ability to remove rain and sea clutter, leaving targets of interest clearly shown on the screen. The ESM signature of SharpEye™ is also greatly reduced compared to that of a transponder system. In addition, and unlike other ship navigation radars, SharpEye™ is capable of tracking aerial targets flying over land.

The SharpEye™ naval tactical radar display hosts a number of features for the management of airspace and helicopter landing including helo approach path graphics, cordons and deviation alarms.

The combination of a high performance naval radar sensor, advanced tracking technology and a easy to use tactical radar display, SharpEye™ is the most comprehensive, multipurpose and capable radar system in its class.

SharpEye™ can be used as a dedicated helicopter control, recovery and landing radar. Alternatively, helicopter control functionality can be incorperated into a multifunction SharpEye™ system also supporting navigation and collision avoidance, depending on the size of vessel and the frequency of helicopter deck landing and take-off.

  • Military Aviation Authority approved (Helicopter Control)
  • Multipurpose radar sensor
  • Detection in clutter
  • Performance advantage
  • No magnetron - minimal routine maintenance requirements
  • High MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure)
  • Extremely low through life costs
  • Covert
  • Mil-Spec design
  • Multifunction tactical radar display

For more information on Helicopter Control Radar

SharpEye™ Solid State Pulse Doppler Radar

SharpEye™ I-Band and E/F-Band (X & S-Band) radar technology meets the detection challenges of naval and coastguard helicopter control, landing and recovery missions. UK Military Aviation Authority approved, a single sensor can provide navigation, surface search and shipborne flight and deck operations. For high frequency shipborne helicopter landing and recovery operations SharpEye™ radar can be optimised and dedicated to the role of helicopter control, recovery and landing.

Solid state radar ensures extremely high reliability and low through life costs:

  • No magnetron - minimal routine maintenance requirements
  • No fault-finding training required
  • Line replaceable unit - does not require radar trained technician to replace
  • Low Mean Time To Repair (MTTR)
  • Upmast transceiver solution - no waveguide to compromise citadel integrity - easy to retrofit - reduced signal loss
SharpEye Naval Radar

SharpEye™ transmits a low power patented pulse sequence, which enables short, medium and long range radar returns to be detected simultaneously, allowing the radar operator to maintain situational awareness regardless of the range scale setting of the radar display. Other users of the radar can select their own radar display range scale. A low peak transmission power (less than 300W) equivalent to a 25kW magnetron reduces the probability of intercept by ESM systems.

Doppler processing of radar returns provides coherent information concerning target velocity (radial) and enable the detection of very small and slow moving objects and targets with a low RCS (Radar Cross Section) and through a series of electronic filters is able to distinguish between the targets of interest and sea, rain and land clutter.

SharpEye™ I-Band (X-Band) transmitters are the first in their class to employ Gallium Nitride (GaN) power transistor technology. The significant performance benefits of GaN transistors have been harnessed to directly improve the performance of the radar.

Other differentiating technologies include Moving Target Detection (MTD) providing enhanced clutter suppression at the Doppler processing stage and pulse compression of the return signal, enabling a low transmit power, providing efficient use of the radar and reducing the probability of detection by ESM equipment. Other Doppler radars may employ less advanced techniques such as Moving Target Indication (MTI) which does not take full advantage of the radial velocity information.

SharpEye Transceiver

Customisable waveforms can be configured for specific threats and to track specific targets such UAVs, drones and helicopters. SharpEye™ is a truly multipurpose naval radar transceiver:

  • Navigation
  • Surface search
  • Helicopter control and recovery (no need for helicopter transponders, even over land)
  • Camera slew to cue
  • Bi-directional links to combat management system
  • Uniform transmission on all ranges so that multiple users on different range scales all see the optimum picture
  • Frequency diversity, user selectable frequencies to ensure interoperability

Naval Tactical Radar Display

The SharpEye™ naval tactical radar display brings the processing advantages of the SharpEye™ radar transceiver to life. For helicopter control operations the display software contains a specialist helicopter mode providing a range of tactical features such as helo path along with various other options and airspace management functions. A multifunction radar display as described in the naval radar section of the website, it will provide IMO type approved navigation tools as well as helicopter control or can be operated as a dedicated helicopter and situational awareness workstation.

The state of the art LED widescreen display is available in 22" and 26" sizes and is an easy to install console display with an integrated 5th generation Mil-Spec processor and 64bit operating system and can be easily integrated into any bridge, CIC or operations room.

Helicopter Tracking Radar Display
  • Ease of operation
  • Multifunctionality enables sharing of information across workstations
  • The open architecture enables serial and digital interfaces
  • Twin PPI enables the user to build a complex picture on one PPI while leaving the other clear for collision avoidance
  • ETD mode provides a clearer picture and uses colour to differentiate between moving and stationary targets
  • ETD also helps the user to detect targets before they are strong enough to be tracked

Carbon Fibre Turning Unit & Housing

Kelvin Hughes has redefined the method of deployment of a naval radar transceiver and antenna through an innovative new carbon fibre housing and rotator system. SharpEye™ technology enables the transceiver to be mounted in the antenna rotator housing, the housing and yoke are composite carbon fibre materials, there is no gearbox - instead a direct drive turning mechanism, and the profile of the complete upmast system adopts a low RCS design - stealth.

SharpEye Upmast Hatch

The result of this innovative approach is a LRU approach SharpEye™ radar system with no need to conduct maintenance and is highly reliable. Mounting the transceiver in the rotator housing brings performance and reduced installation cost benefits with no waveguide routing required. Use of composite materials preserves the mass budget and brings durability and anti-corrosion benefits.

Antenna Systems

Standard types include patented low profile (to reduce wind loading) 2.5m (I-Band/X-Band) and 3.9m (E/F-Band/S-Band) horizontally polarised slotted waveguide open array antennas. Other antenna options available from 1m to 5m and AZL types.

SharpEye™ systems also have an AntennaPark control, enabling the antenna to be positioned in the fore/aft or beam axis when not in use.

Advanced Tracker Technology

For low level air and surface based stressing targets the SharpEye™ naval radar system can incorporate an agile tracker option providing an advanced target tracking capability.

  Specifications subject to change without notice.
SharpEye™ Benefits and Features
  • Advanced capability
  • Affordable
  • Low cost of ownership
Ultra-high Reliability
  • Solid state electronics
  • Graceful degradation
  • Mil-Spec design
Clutter Suppression
  • Doppler processing
  • Small target detection
Incremental Capability
  • Capability Enhancements
  • Mission Updates
  • Useful life extension
Low Power
  • High pulse compression
Continuous Health Monitor
  • Built-in self test
  • System status monitor
Open Architecture
  • Independent display options
  • Camera/sensor interface
  • Gigabit Ethernet (ASTERIX)
  • Serial I/O
  • Fibre optic
Fully Coherent
  • Patented pulse sequence
  • Doppler processing
  • Moving Target Detection (MTD)
Blanking Sectors (Option)
  • Sectorised Transmission / Processing Modes
SharpEye™ Specification I-Band (X-Band) E/F-Band (S-Band)
Operating Frequency 9.2 - 9.5 GHz 2.9 - 3.1 GHz
Frequency Diversity (FD) Optional No
Frequency Channels Non FD 12 / FD 10 8
Peak Power Up to 300W Up to 200W
Average RF Power 39W 20W
Output Power Transistor Type GaN LDMOS
Duty Ratio Up to 13% Up to 10%
Pulse Compression Ratio Up to 1000:1 Up to 1000:1
Signal Processor Doppler Processing Doppler Processing
Clutter Discrimination Up to 16 filters Up to 32 filters
Clutter Suppression Automatic Automatic
Minimum Range ≤40m ≤40m
Instrumented Ranges 24nm and 48nm 24nm and 48nm
PRF 2300Hz 2300Hz
  1180Hz 1180Hz
Pulse Lengths 0.1μS - 100μS 0.1μS - 100μS
Reliability Up to 150,000 hrs MTBF Up to 150,000 hrs MTBF
Power Modes High and low power modes High and low power modes
Antenna (standard) 2.5m low profile 3.9m low profile
Horizontal ≤0.95° - 3dB ≤2.0° - 3dB
Vertical -26° -26°
Polarisation Horizontal Horizontal
Antenna Gain >31dB 28dB
Upmast System Weight (inc. standard antenna) <75kg <108kg
Colour Light Grey - RAL7001 Light Grey - RAL7001