Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment

From Naval History Archive
Jump to navigationJump to search
Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment
Board of Admiralty Flag 20th Century.png
Agency overview
JurisdictionGovernment of the United Kingdom
HeadquartersAdmiralty Building
Parent agencyDepartment of Admiralty (1959-1964)
Navy Department(1964-1984)

The Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment was established in 1959 it existed until 1984 when it was merged with other research establishments to form the Admiralty Research Establishment.


In 1917 an Experimental Department set up in 1917 at HM Signal School, Portsmouth, to coordinate research work undertaken since 1896 on the Torpedo School ships HMS Defiance and HMS Vernon. In 1941 the Experimental Department became the Admiralty Signal Establishment which, like its predecessors, was largely concerned with communications. However, technological advances during the Second World War necessitated an increase in related fields of research, and in 1948 these were brought under one body, the Admiralty Signal and Radar Establishment at Portsmouth. In 1959 it was decided that missile technology justified an extension of its scope, and on being amalgamated with the Admiralty Gunnery Establishment (AGE) and was renamed the Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment (ASWE). It was responsible for various aspects of research, development, design and trial of equipment, devices and techniques in the fields of communications, radar missile control, and electronic counter-measures and in related fields. In 1971 the Admiralty Compass Observatory was absorbed into ASWE as its Navigation Division, and in 1984 the Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment was amalgamated with Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment (AUWE) and Admiralty Marine Technology Establishment (AMTE) to form the Admiralty Research Establishment (ARE).