Missile Head Radar
Anti-Ship Missile

Credit: Militaryphotos.net - Click to Enlarge

Tarantul Class

SS-N-22 Anti-Ship
Missile being fitted to a
Sovremenny Class

Sovremenny Class

Missiles can be guided by using many different types of guidance sensors. The most common are optical, Infra-red or Active Radar, or combinations thereof.  Often, these sensors are located in the nose of the missile. The preferred choice of sensor is often the one that presents a more confusing picture or is stealthiest to its intended target. – Surprise is often the choice.

Missiles may be launched from any type of platform – Land, Sea (surface or submerged) or from the Air.  In each case, the firing platform needs to acquire some advance intelligence on who and where its intended target is.  This can information can be gleaned using target information from any type of sensor onboard the firing platform, supporting aircraft or a third-party. The needed information is pre-programmed into the missile prior to launch.  In the case of an Active-radar missile and depending on the range of the firing platform to its intended target, the type of missile launched, the fired missile may radiate its nose radar initially at launch, or wait until it is a certain range away from its intended target, then turn on  in a search mode to compare the info from its pre-programmed to locate its intended target. Once these conditions are believed met, the missile will initiate its terminal phase and lock on to its target.  If the victim is unaware on what is about to happen , like in the case of just a visual sighting of the incoming missile, then the victims reaction time or countermeasures are somewhat limited. However, by having EW sensors and operators, Radar, and other types of intelligence, the reaction time and applying an effective countermeasure may be significantly increased. Travelling at Mach 3, like the SS-N-22 above, any fractions in time gained would be  helpful to one’s survival.

EW Intercept Station - Click Image to Enlarge

The EW intercept station depicts the IP-480 Analysis screen of the  AN/WLR-1C.  Along with the audio
provides an example of what an EW operator may see on their scope when listening to the intercept.

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