Radar that provides continuous positional data on a target is called tracking radar. Most tracking
radar systems used by the military are also fire-control radar; the two names are often used
Fire-control tracking radar systems usually produce a very narrow, circular beam.
Fire-control radar must be directed to the general location of the desired target because of the
narrow-beam pattern. This is called the DESIGNATION phase of equipment operation. Once in the
general vicinity of the target, the radar system switches to the ACQUISITION phase of operation. During
acquisition, the radar system searches a small volume of space in a prearranged pattern until the target is
located. When the target is located, the radar system enters the TRACK phase of operation. Using one of
several possible scanning techniques, the radar system automatically follows all target motions. The radar
system is said to be locked on to the target during the track phase. The three sequential phases of
operation are often referred to as MODES and are common to the target-processing sequence of most fire-
Typical fire-control radar characteristics include a very high prf, a very narrow pulse width, and a
very narrow beam width. These characteristics, while providing extreme accuracy, limit the range and
make initial target detection difficult. A typical fire-control radar antenna is shown in figure 1-28. In this
example the antenna used to produce a narrow beam is covered by a protective radome.
Figure 1-28.Fire-control radar.
A radar system that provides information used to guide a missile to a hostile target is called
GUIDANCE RADAR. Missiles use radar to intercept targets in three basic ways: (1) Beam-rider missiles