Friday, February 08, 2013

What Is a “Warning and Control Radar”?

It turned out to be a half-denial. What the Chinese defense ministry spokesperson told the TV News Ifeng on February 7 was that it had used a “warning and control radar,” not a fire-control radar, on the Japanese destroyer. So did the Japanese authorities jump the gun?

There is such a thing as an “Airborne Surveillance, Warning and Control Radar (ASWAC)” so it would not surprise me if the PLA Navy had a surface (surveillance,) warning and control radar mounted on its frigate. Thus, it’s plausible that the captain of the frigate decided to do the PLA Navy’s version of giving the evil eye by locking that radar, and not the fire-targeting radar, on the Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer. So two questions: a) are surveillance, warning and control radars ever used in that manner, and b) are signals emanating from the two types of radars when they are used in that manner distinguishable from each other? Even if it turns out that the Japanese authorities aren’t being lied to, they could have been punk’d—punk’d with the potential outcome just as deadly as if the radar had been a fire-targeting radar. The matter turns on the answers to the two questions. The story is far from over.


Jacey said...

Warning and control radars and fire control radars are totally different beast that function in considerably different values of the frequency spectrum. Additionally WCR would use a relatively low pulse repetition frequency to gain detection range whereas the FCR would use a relatively high PRF to obtain to range and bearing discrimination to guide its weapon.

I would guestimate that it was highly possible for a mechanician or user to have inadvertently triggered the hot button during normal daily checks, instead of using an antenna dummy load, when the Japanese vessel was the system test target.

Jun Okumura said...

"Warning and control radars and fire control radars are..."

Thanks, Jacey, I needed that. In fact, we all needed that. And your take on a possible trigger for the activation is intriguing, though the (likely) occurrence of two such incidents less than two weeks apart speaks against it.