Raytheon UK has constructed and fully commissioned a new training facility at Daedalus Airfield, Hampshire on behalf of NATS (formally National Air Traffic Services), as part of the contract awarded on 24 June 2016 to supply and install the Primary Surveillance and Mode S Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radars at 23 sites across the UK.

    The testing and training centre, called the Radar Reference Facility (RRF), was built and fully equipped by Raytheon UK, including the radars, radar shelter, tower and full civil works. Raytheon UK provided full site management and installed and commissioned a Raytheon UK MSSR and Raytheon Canada PSR radar at the site.

    NATS engineers will be able to test hardware and software updates in a safe environment and practice on the radars at the RRF before interrupting and working on the operational radars,” said Raytheon UK’s head of Sensors, Nigel MacVean.

    “Being able to test and train in advance means that repairs and issues can be dealt with more efficiently and quickly when the engineers go on operational sites.”

    Newcomers and existing engineers will be trained and upskilled at the facility to keep each of the 23 operational radar sites in full working order to support safe flight in UK airspace.

    “Despite the impact of Covid, the UK radar network is a core piece of critical national infrastructure that our controllers rely on every day to keep the skies safe for passengers. The provision of the RRF facility will help to ensure that our fleet of radars is maintained and operated as safely and efficiently as possible, allowing our teams to carry out initial and refresher training as well as system testing and validation in a specially built environment” said NATS director of service operations, Iain Harris.

    NATS is the UK’s leading air traffic management service. It handled 2.6 million flights in 2019, covering the UK and eastern North Atlantic from its centres at Swanwick, Hampshire and Prestwick, Ayrshire. NATS also provides air traffic services at 13 UK airports; at Gibraltar Airport and, in a joint venture with Ferrovial, at a number of airport towers in Spain.

    Raytheon UK is responsible for the logistics support of the NATS sites throughout the UK, including those at London’s three major airports. The contract runs until 2028 and covers the provision of technical assistance, spares and repairs, analysis of performance reports, maintenance materials and obsolescence management.