Look out! DASA competition seeks to enhance Royal Navy early warning capabilities

11 May 2021 –  Royal Navy Carrier and Littoral Strike Groups need a clear picture of the battlespace to ensure surface and airborne threats can be responded to within appropriate timescales.

So, in partnership with the Royal Navy, the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch the Look out! Maritime Early Warning Innovations competition, which aims to develop alternative future concepts for the Early Warning systems currently deployed in Maritime Task Groups.

How much funding is available? £1.25 million is available for Phase 1 of the competition, with a maximum of £250k for each funded proposal. The closing date for proposals is midday BST on Tuesday 6 July 2021.

Seeking an alternative solution to traditional airborne sensor-mounted platforms

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Royal Navy Carrier and Littoral Strike Groups need a capability that provides air and surface surveillance that enables over-the-horizon situational awareness. This capability ensures Commanders can detect, track and recognise surface and airborne objects, and respond to them efficiently.

Current early warning maritime capabilities are delivered by sensors mounted aboard airborne platforms, with the current assumption for a follow-on for Crowsnest (an AEW fitted to the Merlin Mk2 helicopter) being a singular large radar sensor mounted on an uncrewed air platform.

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DASA is looking for  alternatives that are not based on this approach and match or exceed current airborne capabilities. More precisely, it is seeking a potential successor to Crowsnest, which has a planned out-of-service date of 2029. It is thus asking industry to submit a proposal based on innovative ideas that can enhance:

  • horizon surveillance and/or target detection capability
  • operational effectiveness through timely processing and dissemination of information         
  • operational efficiency through optimisation of system functionality

What early warning maritime challenges do we want you to overcome?

  • improving threat detection and situational awareness, including detecting, tracking, recognising and identifying hostile and non-hostile contacts, on the surface of the water and in the air 
  • enhancing information processing and dissemination, including integrating the data from sensors and other air and surface platforms within the Maritime Task Group into a composite picture of activity to enable timely decision making
  • optimising efficiency by minimising workforce requirement through a reduced operator and support burden
  • novel or innovative methods of combining system functionality will also be considered, alongside solutions to enhance decision-making efficiency

The closing date for proposals is Tuesday 6 July 2021 at midday BST.

Photos courtesy UK MoD – Crown Copyright