The technology group Wärtsilä has launched its RS24 high-resolution radar, the world’s first commercially available K-band maritime radar. By detecting far smaller objects and at a much higher radar resolution than conventional S or X-band radars, the RS24 enables small vessels and other potential hazards close to large ships to be visible. This promotes safety, especially in congested shipping lanes and busy ports. The technology has been developed by Guidance Marine, a Wärtsilä company.
The first orders for the Wärtsilä RS24 have been received and delivered, and indications are that the system will prove particularly beneficial to vessels, such as cruise ships and ferries, that make frequent port calls. The system is featured in Wärtsilä’s IntelliTug project, which combines technologies, innovations, and digital solutions to develop a tug with autonomous navigation. The concept is aimed at having a vessel capable of performing a range of routine missions designed to further improve operational safety and efficiencies for tugs.
The RS24 radar will provide the highest possible resolution images in the vicinity of vessels, in areas where conventional radars cannot penetrate, while at the same time increasing situational awareness. The radar images will be integrated with the onboard Wärtsilä Nacos navigational system for complete coverage.
“This ground-breaking development offers unparalleled close-range fidelity, providing a level of situational awareness that is unprecedented in ship radars. It is a major breakthrough for the marine industry, and is further evidence of Wärtsilä’s success in developing technologies in line with its Smart Marine initiative, aimed at delivering greater efficiencies, improved safety, and better environmental performance for its maritime customers,” says Dr. Sasha Heriot, Business Development Manager, Guidance Marine, a Wärtsilä company.
Ports around the world are becoming busier, which increases the risk of collisions and damage. Operators need to be able to see what is close to the ship at all times, and traditional radar doesn’t always achieve this.
The RS24 radar will be installed on two cruise ships during the first quarter of 2019. Trials are also being carried out utilising the RS24 for wave detection purposes. If successful, this will have significant implications for the future of passenger comfort.