Configurable Communications Masts
What we offer
A significant milestone was recently achieved on the Royal Navy’s future Type 26, City class frigate when STS Defence led the acceptance test of the first ship’s set of twin masts.
STS Defence is the prime contractor leading the design and development of the configurable communications masts which will be mounted above the mission bay to provide space for a variety of antennas and isolation screens. The starboard mast will predominantly be used for U/VHF communications, with 4G, GPS and ship-to-shore satellite communications antennas on the port mast.
The successful tests were conducted in the presence of the MoD, BAE Systems (Type 26 Prime Contractors), Rohde & Schwarz (integrated communications integrators), Mainstay (who manufactured the masts) and representatives from Lloyd’s Register.
A key mission enabler to any modern warship is the ability to function seamlessly within multiple communications networks, using a wide range of bearers. Whilst competing for valuable deck space with other platform sensors, weapons, machinery and landing areas, antenna configurations must be optimal with respect to coverage and operational efficiency.
The challenge is to optimise deck space by mounting communication and sensor antennas on structural masts, delivering continuous 360° coverage and providing the required frequency isolation to manage electromagnetic interference, whilst allowing technology to evolve through obsolescence, design changes and upgrades with minimum impact.
The tests will be repeated for each of the two remaining sets in the first batch, before the first masts are installed on the first-of-class, HMS Glasgow.
STS Defence has undertaken extensive computer modelling of the masts’ RF performance and structural characteristics which lead to achieving Lloyd’s accreditation.
As well as the Type 26, we also supply and support the communications mast on the Type 45, Daring class destroyers which are undergoing a mid-life upgrade consisting of the replacement of the upper section with a new sensor antenna array.