As the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers undergo their trials programmes, prior to entering service, gunnery alignment is conducted using a target powered by a radio-controlled generator provided by Harrington Generators International (HGI).

BAE Systems Surface Ships has awarded a contract to HGI to provide generators for the catamaran towed targets – called Histars. The generators power the lamps used to enhance the target’s thermal and visible signature.

In order to conserve fuel and reduce CO2 emissions the units have been fitted with a radio-controlled starting system, controlled from the towing ship using a simple control unit, which instructs the engine management system to switch on or off.

“This contract demonstrates HGI’s ability to create bespoke power solutions. The combination of radio control, marinisation and the effects of being bounced around on the sea ensured that our designers had to come up a very robust solution,” said Bryan Harris, managing director of HGI.

The generators had to undergo full sea water and shock testing as well as being subject to EMC testing before being fitted to the catamaran targets by BAE Systems. The diesel generators, which provide 5kW of power at 50Hz and 230V, have a sealed battery and are controlled through a bespoke engine management system which controls the engine pre-heat, crank and starting of the generator.

The targets have been operating successfully for over a year helping gun crews to develop their gunnery skills.