HMS Queen Elizabeth goes 3D as world-leading radar is craned into place

Britain’s biggest warship can see the world in 3D as a hi-tech radar was painstakingly craned into place 100ft above the flight deck.

It took engineers from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance a full day to install Artisan on top of the aft island of HMS Queen Elizabeth, from where it can see objects as far as 200 kilometres away… or as close as 200 metres.

Artisan is gradually becoming the standard ‘eyes’ of the Royal Navy’s frigates – fitted to each Type 23 warship as it undergoes a major overhaul.

It can track up to 800 potential targets simultaneously (including a tennis ball travelling at Mach 3 15 miles away) and cut through radio ‘clutter’ generated by the equivalent of 10,000 mobile phones.

Queen Elizabeth, which is being fitted out at Rosyth Dockyard on the Forth, received her long-range radar (the big black slab sitting on top of the forward island) earlier in the summer.

Artisan – also known as 997 in RN parlance – is much smaller, sleeker and lighter (700kg, which is roughly the same as Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren F1 championship-winning racer).

It took two and half years of planning and work for experts from BAE and Queen Elizabeth’s ship’s company to plan the installation of Artisan, which included creating a life-size mock-up of the aft island in Cowes.

That was used to hone the radar’s interaction with the combat systems on-board the QE and her sister ship Prince of Wales, which is rapidly taking shape at Rosyth.