- Anti-radiation missile
An anti-radiation missile (ARM) is a
missilewhich is designed to detect and home in on an enemy radio emission source. Typically these are designed for use against an enemy radar, although jammers and even radios used for communication can also be targeted in this manner.
Most ARM designs to date have been intended for use against ground-based radars. Commonly carried by specialist aircraft in the
SEAD(Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) role (known to the USAFas " Wild Weasels"), the primary purpose of this type of missile is to degrade enemy air defences in the first period of a conflict in order to increase the chances of survival for the following waves of strike aircraft. They can also be used to quickly shut down unexpected SAM sites during a raid. Aircraft which fly with strike aircraft to protect them from enemy air defences often also carry cluster bombsand are known as a SEADescort. The cluster bombs can be used to ensure that after the ARM disables the SAM system's radar, the command post, missile launchers, and other components or equipment are also destroyed to guarantee the SAM site stays down.
Early ARMs such as the
AGM-45 Shrikewere not particularly intelligent; they would simply home in on the source of radiation and explode when they got near. Smart SAM operators learned to turn their radaroff when an ARM was fired at them then turn it back on later, greatly reducing the missile's effectiveness. This led to the development of more advanced ARMs like the AGM-78 Standard ARMand AGM-88 HARMmissiles, which have inertial guidance systems (INS) built-in. This allows them to "remember" the radar's location if it is turned off and continue to home into it. It is less likely to hit the radar if it is turned off quickly, as the longer the radar is off (and assuming it never turns back on), the more error is introduced into the missile's course. However, the high speed and smokeless motors of the more recent missiles (such as the HARM) mean that they will probably close the distance significantly before anyone even realizes one has been fired. This gives the missile a much higher probability of destroying the radar even in this circumstance. In any case, even a temporary shut down of the enemy's missile guidance radar can be of a great advantage to friendly aircraft during battle.
ALARMhas the ability to loiter: a parachute allows it to slow its descent until the radar reactivates. The AGM-136 Tacit Rainbow(an American missile) would have operated in the same way. This was a small, air launched cruise missile, which could be fired either at a transmitting radar, or an area in which SAM radars are believed to be hiding. In the event of the radar deactivating, the Tacit Rainbow would loiter, using its small jet engine, until the radar reappeared – a "Persistent" Anti-radiation Missile. The project was cancelled in 1991, for budget reasons.
Another design point of modern ARM missiles, other than the range (which is hopefully greater than that of the SAM systems it will be targeted at), is their speed. Some SAM systems utilize huge missiles which are able to accelerate up to incredible speeds (some as high as Mach 6), which means that if the ARM is to be useful in a "duel" between an aircraft and a SAM site, the ARM should be able to fly to and hit the SAM site faster than the SAM can fly to and hit the aircraft. The
AGM-88 HARMmostly succeeds in this area; its top speed of around Mach 4 is partly due to its altitude and speed advantage at launch over the SAM (which has to climb from rest at ground level), and partly due to its powerful rocket motor. This means that if the SAM launches a missile at the aircraft first, unless it is one of the fastest SAM systems such as the SA-10/S-300 or SA-20/S-400, the aircraft is likely to win.
surface-to-surface missiles, like the P-700 Granit, P-500 Bazalt, MM40 Exocet and OTO Melara Teseoinclude a home-on-jam capability wherein the receiver component of their active radar seekeris used to home in on enemy radar, ECM or communications. This makes these missiles significantly harder to defeat with ECM and distraction countermeasures, and makes the use of semi-active missiles against them dangerous.
Due to experiences with jamming during Vietnam and Middle Eastern wars in late 1960s by US-built aircraft, the Soviets have designed an alternative guidance mode for their S-75 (SA-2) missiles, which allowed them to home onto the source of the jamming if normal forms of navigation failed. In cases of heavy jamming, missiles were often launched exclusively in this mode, ironically because passive tracking allowed the SAM operators to prevent American anti-radiation missiles from being fired at them in retaliation. Recently, The People's Republic of China developed the FT-2000 system to counter AEW and AWACS targets, based on the HQ-9 which is in turn based on the S-300PMU. The anti-radiation missile systems has been marketed to Pakistan and various countries, without success.
More recently, air-to-air ARM designs have begun to appear, notably the Russian Vympel R-27P. Such missiles have several advantages over other
missile guidancetechniques; they do not trigger radar warning receivers (conferring a measure of surprise), and they can have a longer range (since battery life of the seeker head is the limiting factor on the range of most active radar homingsystems).
AIM-120 AMRAAMair-to-air missile seeks out electronic jamming countermeasures to improve end-stage performance, its so-called "home on jam" capability. However, this anti-radiation mode is not the exclusive means of guidance of the unit.
author = Reuben Johnson
url = http://www.ainonline.com/Publications/asian/asian_06/d3improved10.htm
title = Improved Russian radar may level playing field
publisher = Asian Aerospace
date = 2006-02
accessdate = 2006-07-10
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