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Target Illumination Radar

launching ramp
CWIR
nose antenna
rear antenna
target illumination radar

Figure 1: HAWK missile control method

launching ramp
CWIR
nose antenna
rear antenna
target illumination radar

Figure 1: HAWK missile control method

Target Illumination Radar

A target illumination radar is a special continuous wave radar for the semi-active missile guidance system. It is a bistatic radar whose transmitter is on the ground and whose receiver is inside the missile. The missile can actively guide itself to the target using radar but does not need a strong transmitter with its power supply. This makes the missile much lighter than if it had to carry these radar modules.

This method is very often used in maritime missile systems. Among the systems stationed on land, AN/MPQ-33/39 (CWIR) and AN/MPQ-46 (HiPIR) were target illumination radars of the HAWK missiles.

A disadvantage is, that the target illumination radar is a grateful target for anti radar missiles because it cannot easily switch to another frequency. The receivers in the missile cannot be re-tuned after launch. As long as the own missile flies to the target, the target illumination radar cannot be switched off because otherwise the own missile is lost.


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