The British Royal Navy uses a multifunction radar developed by Alenia Marconi Systems Ltd. Timken Co. crossed roller bearings are used in the turning base of the radar systems.

The British Royal Navy will be using Timken Co. (Canton, OH) crossed roller bearings in the turning base of the radar systems on its new Type 45 destroyer.

This new radar system is encased in a large, spherical housing atop the vessel's foremast. Inside the housing is a next-generation, multifunction radar developed by Alenia Marconi Systems Ltd. (AMS, Rome). The unit rotates at 30 rpm on a bearing setup that Timken helped develop.

Known as Sampson, this radar is used for surveillance, target identification and target tracking. This radar uses digital adaptive beam forming, which makes it virtually immune to electronic jamming and very powerful. Capable of performing many tasks simultaneously, it uses an active-array antenna made up of many individually controlled transmitter and receiver units. These reduce the energy losses that limit the performance of conventional radar systems.

The bearings in the turning base have two sets of races and rollers brought together at right angles to each other. This crossed roller design increases the load-carrying capacity of the bearing, but keeps the bearing lightweight. Because the radar unit is located high above the waves, it was not only important to reduce total weight, but also to ensure durability. The bearings must also endure extreme temperature conditions, from polar winters to tropical summers.

Other design specifications of the bearing improve interaction with the radar's carbon fiber housing, and additional machining allows the bearing to function as an integral turning base for Sampson. Special seals also were created to protect the bearing from the harsh environmental conditions.

In helping AMS to determine the optimal bearing configuration, Timken engineers used SYSx, a proprietary engineering software tool for calculating and predicting the performance of bearings, gears and housings used in a wide range of complex applications.

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