The U.K.'s New Fighter Jet Has a Radar System That's Just Ridiculous
From popular mechanics
Great Britain is planning the country's first exclusive fighter jet in decades: Tempest.
The hunter, due to be deployed in the mid-2030s, will have radar capable of capturing as much data every second as internet traffic in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The multi-function radio frequency system then collects and analyzes radar data so that Royal Air Force pilots can detect threats earlier than ever before.
The UK's future fighter jet, Tempest, is based on a new radar system that can collect up to 10,000 times more data than previous radar systems and then analyze it on board the aircraft to detect secret enemies.
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The Multi-Function Radio Frequency System (MFRFS) also provides the ability to jam enemy radar systems and blind them to Tempest and its weapons. Tempest is slated to enter service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the mid-2030s.
According to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, MFRFS is an active electronically scanned array radar (AESA). AESA radars are common in fourth and fifth generation fighter jets, replacing the traditional nose-mounted radar dish with a matrix of hundreds of tiny radar modules. Here is a good description of the Royal Aeronautical Society:
“In recent years, active AESA (Electronic Scanned Array) radars have been developed that use an array of hundreds of tiny radar modules to steer a beam of radio waves in different directions instead of physically pointing the radar antenna at a target. With an AESA radar, the beam can be moved extremely quickly so that the radar can perform several tasks at the same time, e.g. B. Monitoring maritime traffic at the same time as monitoring the weather along the flight path of an aircraft. "
The RAF describes MFRFS as "four times as accurate as existing radars in 1/10 of the package". The radar can collect as much data per second as the city of Edinburgh's internet traffic. (Edinburgh has 482,000 residents.) Powerful signal processors would then use this radar data to “paint” a picture of the battlefield for the pilot to highlight friendly and enemy aircraft, ground targets, air defenses, and other important features.
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In addition to detection, the storm chaser can likely use its radar for electronic attacks as well. Formerly a mission reserved for special mission aircraft thanks to AESA radars, modern fighters can often conduct their own electronic attack (EA) missions.
For example, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter can already perform electronic attack missions with its radar, including "false targets, network attacks, advanced jamming and algorithmic data streams". Tempest will likely be able to carry out even more challenging EA missions with an even more powerful radar system.
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