Femto develops M-Frigates new radar mast design - Femto Engineering

M-Frigates new radar mast design

By using FEA and 2D topology optimization Femto engineers aided in developing a 20% more cost efficient Radar Mast Design for the Dutch Royal Navy.

The assignment

Femto Engineering was asked to help create a cost efficient design with high load carrying capacity for the new radar masts of M-frigates for the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO). DMO ensures that military personnel have modern, robust and safe materiel to work with. DMO had already conducted analyses on the global behavior of the structure and made a concept design of the partial bulkhead. Femto Engineering was asked to optimize this bulkhead with respect to mass, structural simplicity and easy manufacturing. In order to evaluate the stresses, a part of the superstructure was included in the model.


Radar mast design requirements

One of the conditions for the radar mast design was a highly increased volume and footprint on the existing superstructure. The total mass of the mast would increase from 10 to 17 tons, due to added radar systems and the much higher amount of steel. By placing a transverse partial bulkhead on top of a webframe, already present in the existing superstructure, the mast stiffness in transverse direction could be improved, resulting in lower stresses at the mast corners.

M-fregat new design on right by Femto Engineering and DMONew design on the right

Our approach

Using 2D topology optimization, the bulkhead concept was optimized for weight-stiffness ratio. The strong preference for easy fabrication was leading in the new radar mast design. Based on results from the 2D topology optimization, the relatively complex concept design was transformed into an optimal structure.



Shock analyses at TNO have shown good performance of the mast structure and the optimized bulkhead. Close cooperation with the client resulted in a simple radar mast design which was easy to manufacture, resulting in a 20% more cost efficient design than the original, yet with an increased stiffness contribution to the mast.


If you are interested in the services that Femto provides concerning this topic or if you would like to know more about projects we’ve worked on please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

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July 21, 2017
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