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Infrared devices

overscan (PaulMM)

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I'm interested in talking about the various IR detecting devices used for air to air combat.

Here's a nice overview of IR seeker technology from Carlo Kopp.

http://www.ausairpower.net/TE-IR-Guidance.html
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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So, as a quick summary:

Tailpipe radiates in 2 micron band
Tail of aircraft radiates in 4 micron band
Exhaust plume radiates in 4 to 8 micron band

Early PbS (lead sulphide) seekers generally used the 1-2 micron band, and thus could only detect the actual jetpipe.

With second generation cooled PbS seekers, sensitivity was shifted slightly towards the higher bands. When in afterburner, the exhaust plume would be sufficently hot and long to allow a measure of all aspect capability.

The InSb seekers used on AIM-9L and R-73 were sensitive to 5 microns, which allowed reasonable all aspect performance, homing on the exhaust plume.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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More interesting links

http://www.xenics.com/DOC/InfraredTechnology.doc

Some typical IR seeker detector materials

PbS = 1-2.8 micron
PbSe = 1-4.5 micron
InSb = 1-5.5 micron

Supposedly Red Top used PbTe
 
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