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Modern Russian Air Defence Radars

RP1

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A very interesting paper dating from 1995 here:

Recent Developments in Russian Radar Systems.pdf (1.7MB)

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/iel3/3929/11378/00522569.pdf?arnumber=522569

Covers the significant differences between Russian phased array systems and western ones. They really do do things differently over there.

An interesting aside is that the latest Chinese PLAN AAW DDG, 052C, which uses a "cousin" of SA-N-6 appears to use a space-fed reflectarray in a fixed 4-face arrangement. If you look closely at the photographs, you can see the antenna horns folded up beneath the array faces. (Some photos in port show them open)

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sferrin

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RP1 said:
A very interesting paper dating from 1995 here:

Recent Developments in Russian Radar Systems.pdf (1.7MB)

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/iel3/3929/11378/00522569.pdf?arnumber=522569

Covers the significant differences between Russian phased array systems and western ones. They really do do things differently over there.

An interesting aside is that the latest Chinese PLAN AAW DDG, 052C, which uses a "cousin" of SA-N-6 appears to use a space-fed reflectarray in a fixed 4-face arrangement. If you look closely at the photographs, you can see the antenna horns folded up beneath the array faces. (Some photos in port show them open)

RP1

Any chance you could post the paper somewhere?

As for the Chinese system what are the advantages/disadvantages to the Aegis system?
 

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Unfortunately it seems you need a subscription to IEEE journals to see the paper - the organisation I work for must have one, becuase I got the paper at work. I suspect it might be somewhat naughty to redistribute the paper, but I can put a summary up.

Reference:

David K. Barton, Recent Developments in Russian Radar Systems, IEEE INTERNATIONAL RADAR CONFERENCE 1995.

The paper describes how several Russian AD systems use space fed lens-arrays or reflect-arrays:

SA-10
SA-12
SA-N-6
SA-N-9

In both of these, the microwave energy is emitted from a single transmitter (eg: the "nipple" on the "Top Dome" FCR for SA-N-6) and passes through space, rather than through waveguides, to an array of phase-shifters. These either allow the radio waves through, whilst controlling the phase (lens) or reflect it, again altering the phase (reflect).

Comparisons are given with the PATRIOT (AN/MPQ-53) and AEGIS (AN/SPY-1*). There is also some comparison with modern Multi-Function Radars (The Russian systems use seperate radars). The main advantages for the Russian systems outlined include lighter weight, greater simplicity, lower cost, greater energy on target (to counter jamming), higher overall RF efficiency (less components leading to less losses) and ability to fold the array when not in use. (No waveguides leading to the array face)

A lot of the paper is a technical discussion of how the Russians have overcome some of the disadvantages of their systems by using slightly different methods to filter out rain, birds etc than would be used in western radars. There is a description of how the "Big Bird" (SA-10) radar performs "second glance" confirmation scans of a target before the rotation is complete.

The paper is also critical of MFRs, due to the division of a finite amount of energy and time between a number of different tasks, and the limitations of having to choose a single radar freqency for multiple tasks that really require at least 2.

An interesting side note is that, when parked and operating their radars, the SA-* systems use Gas Turbines to provide power, contrasted with diesels for motion. This stikes me as very odd, given the higher fuel load of the former.

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Going a bit OT...

I suspect any advantage they have over SPY-1 is the same as indicated in the paper - mostly ship-impact issues such as weight and power loss.

Regarding the system installed on the 052C of the PLAN, please bear in mind that the nature of the radar is my speculation based on the presence of what appears to be separate external Tx. horns, and the fact that the associated SAM seems to be related to the SA-N-6, but with some interesting changes to the launch concept (non-rotating angled launchers, as opposed to rotating vertical ones). All manner of speculation and flat out disinformation abounds regarding advanced Chinese equipment (1980's Cold War, anyone?) including claims that the radars are "Active arrays" (Which only the UK, Japan, Germany (et al) and Austrailia (And US?) are close to fielding on ships) or that the arms are "Test equipment" (Bit of a funny place to put it).

The interesting thing is that 052C has the Yagi-type item aft, which is either a low-frequency surveillance radar (Rendering most RCS-reduction ineffective?) or some sort of ECM. There are several small items of equipment on either side of the mast, and my moneys on those being the ECM / ESM systems, with the larger apparatus being a radar. In addition to this, they carry the phased array radar, but no separate fire control radars (apart from the usual radar GFCS over the bridge). This would imply that either the phased array has some multi-function capability (which would make it somewhat different to any Russian forebears) or that the terminal homing is done via the missiles, either Active Radar Homing or Track-via-Missile, as in PATRIOT. Given the various claims of PATRIOT details being passed / leaked to China, it may well be the latter. Now I'm curious as to whether this was intended as a way of getting a radar transmitter (in the missile) close to a suspected stealth aircraft (cued from the Yagi-set) thus increasing the effectiveness vice a system that relies on the ship-mounted radar to aquire the target.

As always when one plays at being a CIA analyst, it can be best to simply "say what you see" rather than what you hear...

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If they're cheaper, simpler, more efficient etc. why didn't the US go with them? (BTW another good example of what you're talking about is the Tombstone radar).
 

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The author mentions that there have been 3 US space-fed arrays - the PATRIOT engagement radar (he doesn't mention which one, so I assumed AN/MPQ-53), the Safeguard ABM system FCR and an experimental "Multiple Object Tracking Radar".

He also notes that a 1988 report by "One major US. engineering organization" concluded that space fed arrays "were not sufficiently mature to be considered as an early option for large antennas in space-based radar." (NASA is only now looking at them seriously).

He also points out that the IEEEs radar course (at that time) did not even cover the technology - neither does the 3inch thick radar textbook I've got, IIRC.

To be honest, I think the answer may be that "they just didn't". Two seperate, diverging technology paths emerged, and once either side was on it's path it was extremely unlikely to cross over to the other. There are other examples of this - the Russians using reversable gas turbines in ships rather than reversable propellers or gearboxes, for instance, or their almost universal adoption of cold launch technologies (limited in the west to the Peacekeeper ICBM).

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RP1 said:
To be honest, I think the answer may be that "they just didn't". Two seperate, diverging technology paths emerged, and once either side was on it's path it was extremely unlikely to cross over to the other. There are other examples of this - the Russians using reversable gas turbines in ships rather than reversable propellers or gearboxes, for instance, or their almost universal adoption of cold launch technologies (limited in the west to the Peacekeeper ICBM).

RP1

Makes sense. BTW I think it's interesting that even the cold-launch techniques are different. Peacekeeper and SICBM used one way and the SS-5/27/18/24 use a different way. I'd be VERY interested in anything on the SS-N-20 launch sequence.
 

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