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J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

This is a discussion on J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia within the Space & Defense Technology forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Even though this article claims the coverage of 3000 Kms., most of other articles mention it as officially 2000 Kms ...


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Old June 26th, 2004   #1
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J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

Even though this article claims the coverage of 3000 Kms., most of other articles mention it as officially 2000 Kms but unofficially upto 3000 Kms, with not so much accuracy specially due to atmosphere behaviour. But still a radar to recon with. Wonder if there is anything else in the world right now which can outperform this radar?

Introduction

Australia is using a sophisticated new radar network that can detect stealth bombers, curb illegal immigration and spy on neighbouring nations from at least 3000 kilometres away. The $A1.8 billion Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) has taken more than 30 years to complete but is now undergoing final trials.

JORN is designed to monitor air and sea movements across 37,000km of largely unprotected coastline and 9 million square kilometres of ocean. It is being used to cast a security shield across Australia's remote northern approaches without the high cost of maintaining constant maritime and air patrols.

Operational Use

Jindalee over-the-horizon radar was used to track military aircraft landing and taking off from Dili Airport, in East Timor, on 20 September 1999, when Australia-led Interfet forces began securing the former Indonesian province from militia violence. Australian Hercules C130 transports were detected from 1500 kilometres away by a 6 kilometres-long radar array at Longreach (Queensland), and at a similar site at Alice Springs (Northern Territory).

Aircraft images were displayed on radar consoles in Adelaide and Melbourne, 2600 kilometres from the action. Royal Australian Air Force commanders said the radar was accurate enough to show aircraft turning on their landing approach to Dili Airport.

The new radar has also been used to track illegal immigrants approaching Australia by boat through the region's largely unguarded northern waters. Although designed primarily for air detection, JORN was reconfigured last year at Australian Government request to scan for marine intruders. More than 500 illegal immigrants have been arrested and detained in recent weeks, largely as a result of JORN intelligence passed to civilian customs authorities. JORN can also measure wave height and wind direction for meteorological reports.

Jindalee radar at Longreach, Alice Springs and Laverton (Western Australia) enables Australian military commanders to observe all air and sea activity north of Australia to distances of at least 3000 kilometers. This takes in all of Java, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and halfway across the Indian Ocean.

JORN underpins Australian long-term military defence planning based on repelling an invader that attacks southwards through the Indonesian Islands, as did Japan in World War 2.

RAAF Group Captain Greg Hockings, who heads the new Jindalee Operational Radar Network, describes Jindalee as a "tripwire" in Australia's northern surveillance system.

JORN project manager Gordon McElroy, who previously directed Lockheed Martin's US battlefield defence programs, says of JORN: "There is none like it anywhere on the planet."

The JORN System

Lockheed Martin is the major partner in an Australian joint venture company, RLM Systems, which took over the project from the Australian Government's partly privatised telecommunications company, Telstra, in 1997. RLM performed a rescue operation after Telstra reported a $609 million loss on the project and could not guarantee a delivery date.

JORN uses two high frequency radio transmitters located 2300 kilometres apart, at Longreach and Laverton. The transmitter arrays are about one kilometre long and can generate a 20 kilowatt signal, which is stronger than most radio station signals.

The signal is said to be strong enough to blow up nearby re-fuelling depots, which are equipped with metal "faraday" shields to stop accidental sparks.

Signals are aimed at the ionosphere, where the beam is reflected over the horizon to targets up to 3000km away. A weak return signal from over the horizon is captured by a highly sensitive receiver that uses advanced software to separate background "clutter" from selected targets.

The receivers consist of two "arms", each 3.4 kilometers long, and each site consists of 960 individual antenna masts that must not be more than 10mm out of line along the whole length.

Transmitter and receiver sites near Longreach and Laverton are located about 100km apart to prevent electronic interference. The system is linked to 17 beacon stations across northern Australia, which are used to measure ionospheric conditions and calibrate transmissions from Longreach and Laverton.

The RAAF admits the system can operate well beyond its "unclassified" range of 3000 kilometres when radar signals become trapped inside the ionosphere and bounce twice before emerging over the horizon. However, unofficial reports that JORN can see as far as Singapore Harbour, Hong Kong and the Russian border are described by the RAAF as "highly optimistic".

More than a million lines of software code were written to integrate the constantly changing electronic data in what is described by RLM Systems as the biggest software development project in the southern hemisphere. The whole network is linked to a test command centre in Melbourne and, via a duplicate link, to the RAAF's high frequency surveillance command headquarters at Edinburg base, near Adelaide.

Stealth Aircraft not Immune

Edinburg is also linked to a third Jindalee transmitter and receiver at Alice Springs, which has operated as a JORN test site since 1993. McElroy says the Jindalee radar is very difficult to jam because of the way the signal is propagated over the ionosphere. "It can also detect stealth bombers, which are not designed to defeat the characteristics of Jindalee's high frequency radar," he said.

Stealth aircraft, such as the US Nighthawk F117A, are designed with sharp leading edges and a flat belly to minimise reflections back towards conventional ground-based radars. However, Jindalee radar bounces down from the ionosphere onto upper surfaces that include radar-reflecting protrusions for a cockpit, engine housings and other equipment.

Group Captain Hockings says stealth aircraft are coated with special radar absorbing material to avoid detection by conventional microwave radar. But the Jindalee radar uses high frequency radio waves, which have a much longer frequency than microwave radar. "Unless designed to be stealthy to both microwave and HF radars, (stealth) aircraft would not evade detection by JORN," he said.

Defence contractors are due to hand JORN over to the RAAF at the end of next year.

Some Pictures of the System:


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Old June 26th, 2004   #2
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Re: J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

Yep there have been "confirmed" reports of JORN detecting F-117A aircraft and have detected other aircraft at ranges of 3500klms. Not a bad watch on Australia's northern borders eh? It's also very useful for maritime surveillance as well as aerial surveillance.
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Old June 26th, 2004   #3
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Re: J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

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Originally Posted by Aussie Digger
Yep there have been "confirmed" reports of JORN detecting F-117A aircraft and have detected other aircraft at ranges of 3500klms. Not a bad watch on Australia's northern borders eh? It's also very useful for maritime surveillance as well as aerial surveillance.
I certainly agree about it being able to detect at 3500 Kms but when the target is in air..but no way on the sea. Also the range of 3500 is bit optimistic and at that range it is difficult for it to identify the target clearly.
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Old June 26th, 2004   #4
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How easily and accurately can this detect incoming N.Korean or Chinese missiles?

Well this system looks great to me, certainly a leap forward in this sphere.
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Old June 26th, 2004   #5
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How easily and accurately can this detect incoming N.Korean or Chinese missiles?

Well this system looks great to me, certainly a leap forward in this sphere.
The US has just signed an agreement to have access to the technology so that they can integrate it into their ABM system.
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Old June 26th, 2004   #6
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Re: J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

I suggest perhaps you do a bit of research on the JORN Soldier, it IS as capable in Air surveillance as it is in maritime surveillance, however it is not exactly specific as to the exact location of an object. JORN is uesd for wide area surveillance. It will detect anything within the 3500klm range I mentioned, but other systems (such as Australia's Wedgetail AWACS) will be needed to identify the object, pin-point it's location and determine it's intent. The systems are complementary and overlap to a degree. JORN doesn't do everything, but it is the longest ranging operational radar system in the world...
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Old June 26th, 2004   #7
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Re: J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

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I certainly agree about it being able to detect at 3500 Kms but when the target is in air..but no way on the sea. Also the range of 3500 is bit optimistic and at that range it is difficult for it to identify the target clearly.
The system has regularly intercepted beyond 3500k's. The declared figures on radar systems are always conservative.

To give you an idea of how capable it is, approx 7 years ago there was a test where the system was able to track a truck driving through the desert in western australia. The system regularly is used for maritime interrogation, and in fact australia has developed a smaller variant of it using surface wave radar to help detect intrusions north of queensland. that system is smaller and is able to pick up vessels beyond 400k's

edit: australia also has just approved the installation of a wide area grid network as well. it means that literally every part of the country is now trackable. that means that there are 4-5 systems interconnected:

JORN
WAGN
Ground Based Radar Network
DIGO satellites.
SWRS

It makes it virtually impossible for any aircraft to enter australian airspace without detection - even if they are at sea level.
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Old June 26th, 2004   #8
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The US has just signed an agreement to have access to the technology so that they can integrate it into their ABM system.
So basically the Aussie Jorn + the US GPS work together to tmake the Missile Shield more accurate in that region. This would be great news if this works out perfectly, and I see no reason why it wouldn't.
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Old June 26th, 2004   #9
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Re: J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

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Originally Posted by Aussie Digger
I suggest perhaps you do a bit of research on the JORN Soldier, it IS as capable in Air surveillance as it is in maritime surveillance, however it is not exactly specific as to the exact location of an object. JORN is uesd for wide area surveillance. It will detect anything within the 3500klm range I mentioned, but other systems (such as Australia's Wedgetail AWACS) will be needed to identify the object, pin-point it's location and determine it's intent. The systems are complementary and overlap to a degree. JORN doesn't do everything, but it is the longest ranging operational radar system in the world...
AussieDigger, I did not start this thread without studying about it. Infact I had been reading on various websites for almost 5 hours. I agree with you about it being specific to the exact location. I still stand by what I said. I will also like to add, that I studied about the engineering aspect and wavelengths, RF frequencies used. There is always a limit to it.

I sure will like some comments from GF, as I may recall him saying once on the forum that Australia was able to detect planes taking off from South of India. Reading the various articles online, that was no where near the truth. Perhaps it may have been said by someone else and if not GF, then I apologize in advance.
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Old June 26th, 2004   #10
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Re: J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

Yep, the JORN is perfect for tracking long range missile firings...
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Old June 26th, 2004   #11
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Re: J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

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I sure will like some comments from GF, as I may recall him saying once on the forum that Australia was able to detect planes taking off from South of India. Reading the various articles online, that was no where near the truth. Perhaps it may have been said by someone else and if not GF, then I apologize in advance.
Nope, that wasn't me, and if I did say it then I was clearly over tired and delusional.

The system unofficially was able to track stealth aircraft over bagdhad, although this seems far fetched, the nature and vagaries of the ionosphere sometimes give you an unusal window of surveillance. The Russians also experienced similar aberrations, although their system never had the absolute depth of field that we've managed to achieve to date.
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Old June 26th, 2004   #12
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Re: J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

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I will also like to add, that I studied about the engineering aspect and wavelengths, RF frequencies used. There is always a limit to it.
The issue is that the Ionosphere introduces vagaries and opportunities which some scientists still don't fully comprehend, and which to date, we think we have a better grasp than other countires undertaking similar development.

Back scattering off the ionosphere can be influenced by weather conditions and a host of other variables. It's a bit like a hi tech version of a heliograph, except that the return is bounced off the ionosphere and not off of a device acting as a redirector. ie, if you don't have the system tuned properly, then you won't see the return etc... it's not like a normal RF interrogation process.

the other analogy is think of the hubble telescope acting like the ionosphere, if you don't get it right, then the reading will be hundreds of miles off
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Old June 26th, 2004   #13
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Re: J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

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Originally Posted by Soldier
I sure will like some comments from GF, as I may recall him saying once on the forum that Australia was able to detect planes taking off from South of India. Reading the various articles online, that was no where near the truth. Perhaps it may have been said by someone else and if not GF, then I apologize in advance.
Nope, that wasn't me, and if I did say it then I was clearly over tired and delusional.

The system unofficially was able to track stealth aircraft over bagdhad, although this seems far fetched, the nature and vagaries of the ionosphere sometimes give you an unusal window of surveillance. The Russians also experienced similar aberrations, although their system never had the absolute depth of field that we've managed to achieve to date.
More then technology what impressed me most was the IDEA and INNOVATION... It really is a work of some cool thinking brainheads. Now since it is already implemented, there have to be people involved already working on enhancing the range further...
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Old June 26th, 2004   #14
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I too read that JORN picked up Stealth aircraft over Baghdad, but that seemed unlikely to me too. Maritime surveillance is one of the primary roles of JORN soldier, whatever those articles might say. Cheers.
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Old June 26th, 2004   #15
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Re: J.O.R.N (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) of Australia

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I too read that JORN picked up Stealth aircraft over Baghdad, but that seemed unlikely to me too. Maritime surveillance is one of the primary roles of JORN soldier, whatever those articles might say. Cheers.
Oh yes AussieDigger, I do not deny it. If I am not wrong it was made for maritime vigilence only but later modified for air & sea both.
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