Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blindfire Tracking Radar

The Blindfire tracking radar is a monopulse F-Band radar manufactured by Alenia Marconi Systems from 1970. Used in the Rapier missile system, the Marconi DN 181 Blindfire radar emits a very narrow "pencil" beam, tracking both the target and missile. To allow the operator to monitor the Blindfire system when it is tracking the target, the existing optical tracker is slaved to the Blindfire radar, although it is possible for the optical tracker to be manually "laid on" a second target whilst the Blindfire engages the first target. The Blindfire trailer carries its own generator unit, and a third Land Rover (a 12v winch equipped 101 FC) - the Tracking Radar Tractor (TRT) - to tow it.

The Blindfire tracking radar provides fully automatic all-weather engagement. The output is sufficiently powerful to burn through most jamming signals and the radar uses advanced frequency management techniques to evade jamming and other hostile electronic countermeasures. The system incorporates a self-surveillance reversionary mode of operation. A dedicated missile command link provides dual firing capability. Operationally, Blindfire is alerted to a potential target by an associated surveillance radar, which indicates the approximate direction of the threat. So cued, Blindfire 'immediately' swings on to this bearing and establishes target bearing, range and height. When lock-on is achieved, the target is engaged with a radar tracked missile shot. The difference between the target and missile angles are 'instantly' derived within the architecture as commands are automatically transmitted to the missile to guide it on to the target.