QinetiQ invests £16.8m in upgrading MOD Hebrides air range

As part of a joint investment programme, UK MOD and QinetiQ have agreed to invest £16.8m in two new BAE Systems tracking radars, to be installed on St Kilda, and upgrade two existing radars at MOD Hebrides.

As part of QinetiQ’s strategy to modernise UK test and evaluation, the tracking radars will provide data and safety monitoring at the range for experimentation, evaluation, demonstration and rehearsal of military capability.

The new radars are part of the £95m Air Range Modernisation programme agreed in December 2016 with the UK MOD. The modernisation of MOD Aberporth and MOD Hebrides will help reduce the overall operating costs of the ranges ensuring they remain competitive and have the capabilities required to support UK defence, defence exports and attract international customers, building on the success of the At Sea Demonstration 2015 and Unmanned Warrior 2016.

Tracking radars

Cathy O’Carroll, QinetiQ Group Director Test & Evaluation said: “The modernisation of UK test and evaluation is a key part of our strategy for future growth. Working with the UK MOD we want to ensure that we are able to deliver air ranges that are relevant and competitive for the UK Armed Forces as well as government and industry customers around the world. These new radars will provide a step change in what we are able to deliver for our customers and ensure that the UK MOD are getting real value for money. MOD Hebrides is a key range for the UK which has helped to deliver significant and ground breaking demonstrations, such as Unmanned Warrior. These new radars will help ensure that more complex work can be carried out at the range.”

Mark Keeler, acting president of BAE Systems’ Intelligence & Security sector, said: “BAE Systems is pleased to continue our long partnership with QinetiQ and the UK test ranges by providing the latest in technology for instrumentation tracking radars.”

MOD Hebrides occupies 115,000km² of segregated airspace allowing UK MOD, industry and international customers to conduct a wide range of trials, experimentation and rehearsal. The range includes use of St Kilda, an isolated archipelago 64 kilometres (40 mi) west-northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic Ocean. The new radars will replace two existing radars on St Kilda, which are used as a part of a tracking station, and upgrades to two radar at MOD Hebrides and will be fully functional by the Spring of 2020.

Richard Smart, Director Weapons at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation said: “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with industry in delivering modern air tracking radars in support of test and evaluation conducted for the UK Armed Forces. Using the latest technology, this equipment will help ensure our ranges have the capabilities required to meet current and future defence demands.”