Missile Seeker Radars

This page compares pulse radar vs FMCW radar and mentions difference between pulse radar and FMCW radar. These missile seeker radars are used as missile guidance and seeker systems.

Missile seeker radars operate at millimeter wave frequencies. These are used for precision guidance of missiles. Millimeter waveforms have many advantages such as broad bandwidth, less interference by smoke, fog and dust. They also offer higher spatial resolution.

Following steps are performed by missile seeker radars in war during final phase of attack on the enemies:
• These radars do scanning and seek the target.
• once the target is found in the field of the view, beam of the radar antenna locks on to it.
• Consecutively, missile tracks the target and hit without fail.

Often it is desired to hide the radar location from the enemies. In this situation, passive radiometer sensor is used in place of the missile radar. This radiometer tracks the traget by conical scan of thermal emission from the target.

Pulse radar

The receiver bandwidth in this radar is wide such that it can acquire significant spectral components of the pulse. This allows detection of each radar pulse accurately without affecting pulse shape.Due to this characteristics, it is known as pulse radar. Refer radar tutorial which covers pulse radar block diagram.

FMCW radar

In this type of radar, RF signal is frequency modulated by a linear sweep using either triangular modulating waveform or sinusoidal modulation. Refer FMCW radar system which explains the system with equation.

Pulse vs FMCW radar-Difference between pulse and FMCW radar

Following table mentions difference between missile seeker radars such as pulse radar and FMCW radar operating at the frequencies of 35GHz and 94GHz.

Missile Seeker radar specifications Pulse Radar
Pulse Radar
FMCW Radar
FMCW Radar
Average transmission power 10mW 5mW 100mW 50mW
Peak transmission power 2W 1W - -
Transmission Bandwidth 300MHz 300MHz 500MHz 500MHz
Receiver IF Bandwidth 300MHz 300MHz 200MHz 200MHz
Antenna Diameter 16.25 cm 16.25 cm 16.25 cm 16.25 cm
Antenna Efficiency 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6
Antenna Beamwidth 3.6Degree 1.3Degree 3.6Degree 1.3Degree
Pulse width of transmitted waveform 0.1 sec 0.1 sec - -
Pulse repetition frequency 50 KHz 50 KHz - -
Target RCS 50 m2 50 m2 50 m2 50 m2
Scanning Loss 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10
Noise figure of receiver 9dB 12dB 9dB 12dB
Integration Time 500 msec 70 msec 500 msec 70 msec


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