Figure 1-26.2D air-search radar.
Relatively low transmitter frequencies are used in 2D search radars to permit long-range
transmissions with minimum attenuation. Wide pulse widths and high peak power are used to aid in
detecting small objects at great distances. Low pulse-repetition rates are selected to permit greater
maximum range. A wide vertical-beam width is used to ensure detection of objects from the surface to
relatively high altitudes and to compensate for pitch and roll of own ship. The output characteristics of
specific air-search radars are classified; therefore, they will not be discussed.
Air-search radar systems are used as early-warning devices because they can detect approaching
enemy aircraft or missiles at great distances. In hostile situations, early detection of the enemy is vital to a
successful defense against attack. Antiaircraft defenses in the form of shipboard guns, missiles, or fighter
planes must be brought to a high degree of readiness in time to repel an attack. Range and bearing
information, provided by air-search radars, used to initially position a fire-control tracking radar on a
target. Another function of the air-search radar system is guiding combat air patrol (CAP) aircraft to a
position suitable to intercept an enemy aircraft. In the case of aircraft control, the guidance information is
obtained by the radar operator and passed to the aircraft by either voice radio or a computer link to the
Height-Finding Search Radar
The primary function of a height-finding radar (sometimes referred to as a three-coordinate or 3D
radar) is that of computing accurate ranges, bearings, and altitudes of aircraft targets detected by air-
search radars. Height-finding radar is also used by the ships air controllers to direct CAP aircraft during
interception of air targets. Modern 3D radar is often used as the primary air-search radar (figure 1-27).
This is because of its high accuracy and because the maximum ranges are only slightly less than those
available from 2D radar.