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May 23, 1959: The Center Acquired a Mobile Radar Van with a Capability of Slant Range, Effectively Doubling the Radar Range Facility

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

The Center acquired a mobile radar van with a capability of 200 nm slant range, effectively doubling the radar range facility

In radio electronics, especially radar terminology, slant range is the line-of-sight distance along a slant direction between two points which are not at the same level relative to a specific datum.  An example of slant range is the distance to an aircraft flying at high altitude with respect to that of the radar antenna. The slant range (1) is the hypotenuse of the triangle represented by the altitude of the aircraft and the distance between the radar antenna and the aircraft's ground track (point (3) on the earth directly below the aircraft). In the absence of altitude information, for example from a height finder, the aircraft location would be plotted farther (2) from the antenna than its actual ground track.

There is considerable interest in developing stratosphere troposphere (ST) and mesosphere stratosphere troposphere (MST) radars for higher resolution to study small-scale turbulent structures and waves. At present most ST and MST radars have resolutions of 150 meters or larger, and are not able to distinguish the thin (40 - 100 m) turbulent layers that are known to occur in the troposphere and stratosphere, and possibly in the mesosphere. However the antenna beam width and sidelobe level become important considerations for radars with superior height resolution. The objective of this paper is to point out that for radars with range resolutions of about 150 meters or less, there may be significant range smearing of the signals from mesospheric altitudes due to the finite beam width of the radar antenna. At both stratospheric and mesospheric heights the antenna sidelobe level for lear equally spaced phased arrays may also produce range aliased signals. To illustrate this effect the range smearing functions for two vertically directed antennas have been calculated, (1) an array of 32 coaxial-collinear strings each with 48 elements that simulates the vertical beam of the Poker Flat, Glaska, MST radar; and (2) a similar, but smaller, array of 16 coaxial-collinear strings each with 24 elements.

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