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Fighter jet radar range

This is a discussion on Fighter jet radar range within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Sorry if this has been posted before, but as I've just recently become an avid aviation enthusiast, I was wondering ...


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Old December 30th, 2012   #1
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Fighter jet radar range

Sorry if this has been posted before, but as I've just recently become an avid aviation enthusiast, I was wondering if someone could provide more or less accurate detection ranges for today's fighter jets (Flanker, Fulcrums, F-15/16s, J-10/11 etc)
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Old December 30th, 2012   #2
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The right answer is, it depends.
A simple way that is common on the net is that you reduce the RCS by 10 to decrease the range by 2.
A radar that sees a 10 meter RCS at 100nm will see a 1 meter RCS at 50nm.
Now assign RCS values you agree with on the planes and you will have your winner and hours of debates
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Old December 31st, 2012   #3
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According to some sources on intenet like Wiki, the detectionrange of the AN/APG-66 (F-16A/B) and AN/APG-67 (KAI T-50, Ching Kuo) are around 150 km.....
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Old December 31st, 2012   #4
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Originally Posted by alexkvaskov View Post
Sorry if this has been posted before, but as I've just recently become an avid aviation enthusiast, I was wondering if someone could provide more or less accurate detection ranges for today's fighter jets (Flanker, Fulcrums, F-15/16s, J-10/11 etc)
There are several problems with this, the first is that you've got an enormous variety of radar systems even within individual platforms.

Take the F-15 for example. Depending on the operator and the model, you could have the APG-63v1, v2 or v3 radar, APG-70 or APG-82.

For F-16 you can have the APG-66, APG-68v5 or v9, APG-80 and so on.

For the Hornet you can have the APG-65 or APG 73. Now which block do you wish to discuss, Block 10, 20, 30 or 40 of those radars?

Super Hornet has APG-73 and APG-79 radars. Again, which one do you want to know?

Then you have to discuss what sort of target are you trying to detect? Air to air tracking of an aerial target or a ground target? Are you speaking of synthetic aperture radar modes or ground moving target indicator mode if it's against a ground target?

What size target are you talking of? Obviously a C-17A Globemaster is going to have a larger radar cross section, than an F-22A Raptor for example.

What atmospheric conditions are there? How much is the radar signal attenuated through these conditions? What sort of clutter is there, affecting your radar returns and so on.

Giving you an accurate radar range for a set scenario is not possible without all these factors being taken into consideration...
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Old December 31st, 2012   #5
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Not wanting to appear to be a troll - but this area was once seen to be the hobby horse of the Dr Kopp camp. I do remember endless articles in Australian Aviation and other defence mags with all sorts of radar range graphics splashed around.
It would be a gross oversimplification to generalise on airframes - can of worms time methinks.
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Old December 31st, 2012   #6
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There are several problems with this, the first is that you've got an enormous variety of radar systems even within individual platforms.

Take the F-15 for example. Depending on the operator and the model, you could have the APG-63v1, v2 or v3 radar, APG-70 or APG-82.

For F-16 you can have the APG-66, APG-68v5 or v9, APG-80 and so on.

For the Hornet you can have the APG-65 or APG 73. Now which block do you wish to discuss, Block 10, 20, 30 or 40 of those radars?

Super Hornet has APG-73 and APG-79 radars. Again, which one do you want to know?

Then you have to discuss what sort of target are you trying to detect? Air to air tracking of an aerial target or a ground target? Are you speaking of synthetic aperture radar modes or ground moving target indicator mode if it's against a ground target?

What size target are you talking of? Obviously a C-17A Globemaster is going to have a larger radar cross section, than an F-22A Raptor for example.

What atmospheric conditions are there? How much is the radar signal attenuated through these conditions? What sort of clutter is there, affecting your radar returns and so on.

Giving you an accurate radar range for a set scenario is not possible without all these factors being taken into consideration...
Also need to know the altitude of the aircraft and the target. At the frequencies used (mostly X-band) you cannot see beyond the horizon.
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Old December 31st, 2012   #7
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Originally Posted by ADMk2 View Post
There are several problems with this, the first is that you've got an enormous variety of radar systems even within individual platforms.

Take the F-15 for example. Depending on the operator and the model, you could have the APG-63v1, v2 or v3 radar, APG-70 or APG-82.

For F-16 you can have the APG-66, APG-68v5 or v9, APG-80 and so on.

For the Hornet you can have the APG-65 or APG 73. Now which block do you wish to discuss, Block 10, 20, 30 or 40 of those radars?

Super Hornet has APG-73 and APG-79 radars. Again, which one do you want to know?

Then you have to discuss what sort of target are you trying to detect? Air to air tracking of an aerial target or a ground target? Are you speaking of synthetic aperture radar modes or ground moving target indicator mode if it's against a ground target?

What size target are you talking of? Obviously a C-17A Globemaster is going to have a larger radar cross section, than an F-22A Raptor for example.

What atmospheric conditions are there? How much is the radar signal attenuated through these conditions? What sort of clutter is there, affecting your radar returns and so on.

Giving you an accurate radar range for a set scenario is not possible without all these factors being taken into consideration...
Sorry for making this a quagmire without any specifics. I had a purely fighter on fighter scenario in mind, 4th generation only without any outside assistance from AWACS, during a moderately cloudy and somewhat humid summer day at about 45 degrees north latitude. Altitude would be between 9 and 10 miles. As for which specific radar, the APG-82 from the F-15, the APG-68 block 30 F-16C and APG 79 radar for the Super Hornet.
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Old December 31st, 2012   #8
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Borderline thread - please do basic research before asking such questions and read the Forum Rules re "x vs y" threads as this one was skating the edges on acceptability
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