The Sampson is an active phased array radar developed by BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies. The Sampson is a multifunction S-band radar which operates in the 2-4 GHz frequency. The Sampson radar is capable of simultaneously detect and track hundreds of targets, and is compatible with both active and semi-active homing missile systems, providing mid-course guidance. The SAMPSON System can also detect all types of targets out to a distance of 400 km. The SAMPSON uses software to shape and direct its beam allowing several functions to be carried out at once and, through adaptive waveform control, is virtually immune to enemy jamming. Active arrays have both longer range and higher accuracy than conventional radars. The SAMPSON uses two planar arrays to provide coverage over only part of the sky; complete coverage is provided by rotating the arrays, essentially similar to the way conventional radar systems operate.
The SAMPSON radar rotates at 30 revolutions per minute, meaning no part of the sky lacks coverage for more than one second on average - the precise time varies as the beams can also be swept back and forth electronically. In addition, the use of a smaller number of arrays allows the system to be much lighter, allowing placement of the arrays at the top of a prominent mast rather than on the side of the superstructure. In operation on the Royal Navy's' Type 45 Destroyer, the Sampson multi-function radar is at the core of the Sea Viper naval air defence system. It provides surveillance and dedicated tracking in a single system, enabling the Type 45 to defend itself and other ships in its company from attack.