SAMPSON Radar tracking Algorithms


    Aerospace and Defense High Performance Operations

    BAE Systems looked to Tessella’s expertise in radar, tracking, complex system design, simulation and detailed mathematical modelling for support in developing an integrated set of tracking algorithms for the SAMPSON Multi-Function Radar on the new Type 45 Destroyer.

    The Client

    BAE Systems is a global company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced defence and aerospace systems in the air, on land and at sea. BAE Systems is the prime contractor for the Type 45 Destroyer, which will be a key part of the UK Royal Navy’s air defences for the first half of the 21st century. When the first ship of the class enters service in 2009, it will be one of the most advanced warships in the world.

    The SAMPSON Multi-Function Radar was designed, developed and delivered by BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies Limited (Insyte), specifically for the Type 45. SAMPSON provides vital information for the Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS) – the weapon system forming the ship’s main armament – and is therefore crucial to the success of the Type 45 project. SAMPSON can electronically direct and adapt its beam, allowing multiple functions to be carried out simultaneously and thereby enabling surveillance (long and medium range search, surface search and high-angle search) and tracking modes to be combined in a single system.

    SAMPSON represents a major technological advance in terms of surveillance and tracking performance, which will help provide the UK Royal Navy with sophisticated air defences for decades to come.

    Tessella’s Contribution

    BAE Systems Insyte turned to Tessella for support in developing the integrated set of automated tracking algorithms that are key to the functioning of SAMPSON. Automated tracking algorithms are necessary because of the large number of targets which may be visible, and to support the PAAMS fire control. The development and integration of these algorithms for this state-of-the-art tracking system requires expertise in radar, tracking, complex system design and detailed mathematical modelling.

    Tessella have performed many tasks on the SAMPSON project, including:

    • Track extractor design and analysis.
    • Design and analysis of track smoothing algorithms.
    • Analysis of track false alarm rates and derivation of track initiation rules.
    • Design and performance analysis under computational load.
    • Plot-track association algorithm design and analysis.
    • Design and analysis of clutter mapping algorithms such as the measurement of very low clutter densities, the resolution of localized high-density clutter regions, project-specific tuning and optimization.
    • Track extractor interface definition.
    • Analysis of the closed-loop system.
    • Development of a sophisticated simulation of the operational environment, radar signal processing and track extractor.
    • Exercising and optimising the algorithms in the context of the complete system.
    • Comprehensive and innovative output graphics to facilitate data analysis.


    Frank Howe, the SAMPSON Integrated Project Team Leader at BAE Systems Insyte, said “The SAMPSON Multi-Function Radar is a leader in its field and will provide the UK Royal Navy with a capability to challenge the best in the world. This achievement is a culmination of two decades of research and development and was made possible by the innovation and expertise of the Cowes Insyte team and its key partners, including Tessella, who have made a significant technical contribution.”