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# EEE381B

AEROSPACE
SYSTEMS
& AVIONICS
Part 2 The radar range equation
Ref: Moir & Seabridge 2006, Chapter 3,4
Dr Ron Smith

OUTLINE
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Design impacts
Low observability
Exercises

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EQUATION

## There are many different versions of the

We will use, and fully derive, the one
presented below.

Pt G
4
3
(4 ) S min
2 2

RMax

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EQUATION

## G gain of the transmit/receive antenna

wavelength of the operating frequency
Smin minimum detectable signal power

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Pt G
4
3
(4 ) S min
2 2

RMax

units of RMax

2
2
W
m
m
4
m
W

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EQUATION

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## Recall from the previous lecture that the

average transmitted power is a function of
peak pulse power and the pulse duration:

Pt Pave

Ppeak
Tp
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1
, where Tp
PRF

[4]

## Recall that power density decreases as a

function of distance traveled:

Pt G
power density at range R
2
4R
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## The amount of power

reflected back from a
target is a function of
the power density at the
target and the targets

Pt G
power density reflected

2
4R
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AT ANTENNA

## The power density of the returned signal,

echo, again spreads as it travels back

Pt G

2
4R 4R 2

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## The antenna captures only a portion of

the echoed power density as a function of

Pt G
Pt G 22
Ae
,
2 4
3 4
(4 ) R
(4 ) R

2G
recalling that Ae
4
* In this equation the receiver is assumed to be all radar
receive chain components except the antenna.
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RANGE

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POWER

## Therefore a radar system is capable of

detecting targets as long as the received echo
power is greater than or equal to the minimum
detectable signal power of the receive chain:

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Pt G 2 2
4
3
(4 ) S min

3.

## A careful study of the radar range

equation provides further insight as to the
effect of several radar design decisions.

## In general the equation tells us that for a

radar to have a long range, the
transmitter must be high power, the
antenna must be large and have high gain,
and the receiver must be very sensitive.

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3.1 POWER, PT

## Increases in transmitter power yield a

surprisingly small increase in radar range,
since range increases by the inverse fourth
power.
For

## example, a doubling of transmitter peak power

results increases radar range by only 19%,
4

2 1.19

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## The average power transmitted can also be increased

by increasing the pulse duty cycle, sometimes
referred to as the time-on-target.
A combined doubling of the pulse width and doubling
of the transmitter peak power will give a fourfold
increase in average transmitted power, and ~41%
4

4 1.41
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3.3 GAIN, G

For

## a parabolic dish, doubling the antenna size

(diameter) will yield a fourfold increase in gain and

For a dish G Ap or ( D / 2) 2
and Rmax 4 G 2 or
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D4

## Similar to that of transmitter power, increases in

receiver sensitivity yield relatively small increases in
Only

## 19% range increase for a halving of sensitivity, and at the

expense of false alarms.

## Receiver design is a complex subject beyond the scope

of this course, see 3.5.3.
Simplistically, the smaller the radar pulse width, the
larger the required receiver bandwidth and the larger

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3.4.2 SIGNAL-TO-NOISE

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4.

## The radar cross-section of a target is a

measure of its size as seen by a radar,
expressed as an area, m2.
It is a complex function of the geometric
cross-section of the target at the incident
angle of the radar signal, as well as the
directivity and reflectivity of the target.
The RCS is a characteristic of the target,

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## Large RCS, but decreases

rapidly as the incident
angle deviates from the
normal.

4a b

2 2

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## Small RCS, but is

independent of incident
angle.

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## RCS can be quite small or

fairly large depending on
orientation.

2ra 2

, as viewed

4 r

2

3 4

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REFLECTOR

## The RCS of a trihedral

(corner) is both large and
relatively independent of
incident angle.

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5.

LOW OBSERVABILITY

## From the previous discussion on the radar

cross-section of targets, it should be
obvious that determining the radar crosssection of an airplane is a complicated
The art of designing an aircraft to
specifically have a low RCS is known as
low observability, or more commonly
known as stealth.
Stealth is a relatively new technology,
even

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AIRCRAFT [1]

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[1]

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AREAS [1]

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EXAMPLE[1]

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EXAMPLE[1]

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## 5.4 COMPARATIVE RCS

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[1]

6. IN-CLASS EXERCISES

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1

## Think carefully about the derivation of the

radar range equation just presented. Is
there a potentially significant loss
component missing?
Hint:

## recall the simple link equation from your

very early lectures.

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2

## Why have designers of stealth aircraft sought

to blend the physical transitions / features of
the aircraft?

## Will reduction in your aircraft RCS alone

make you invisible to the enemy?
How

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CALCULATION

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CALCULATION

## The US Navy AN/SPS-48 Air Search Radar is a

medium-range, three-dimensional (height,
range, and bearing) air search radar.
Published technical specifications include:
Operating frequency 2900-3100 MHz
Transmitter peak power 60-2200 kW
PRF 161-1366 Hz, and pulse widths of 9 / 3 sec
Phased array antenna with a gain of 38.5 dB

## For its published maximum range of 250 miles for

a nominal target such as the F-18, what is the

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REFERENCES
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)

6)

## Moir & Seabridge, Military Avionics Systems, American Institute of

Aeronautics & Astronautics, 2006. [Sections 2.6 & 2.7]
David Adamy, EW101 - A First Course in Electronic Warfare, Artech
House, 2000. [Chapters 3,4 & 6]
George W. Stimson, Introduction to Airborne Radar, Second Edition,
SciTch Publishing, 1998.
Principles of Radar Systems, student laboratory manual, 38542-00, LabVolt (Quebec) Ltd, 2006.
John C. Vaquer, US Navy Surface Officer Warfare School Documents,