Electronic Weapons: Global Hawk Gets Death Ray

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December9, 2006: High resolution radar is being installed in a Global Hawk UAV. This Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar consists of thousands of tiny radars that can be independently aimed in different directions. An AESA radar was used on the JSTARS aircraft, enabling it to locate vehicles moving on the ground. A new AESA radar for JSTARS enables them to spot smaller, man sized, objects. AESA type radars have been around a long time, popular mainly for their ability deal with lots of targets simultaneously, and produce a more accurate picture of what is out there.

A sufficiently powerful AESA radar can also focus enough energy to damage aircraft or missiles. The U.S. has already been doing this with the high-powered microwave (HPM) effects generated by similar AESA radars used in F14, F35 and F22 aircraft. This is sort of like the EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) put out by nuclear weapons. AESA has demonstrated that it can disable missiles and aircraft. AESA in a Global Hawk could disable electronics on the ground.

The air force has said that the larger AESA radar it plans to install on its new E-10 radar aircraft would be able to zap cruise missile guidance systems up to 180 kilometers away. The E-10 AESA is several times larger than the ones found in fighters and the Global Hawk, so make your own range estimates.


 


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