Aircraft Wiki

RADAR (standing for RAdio Detection And Ranging) is a detection system to track enemy aircraft, using radio waves to know the speed and the distance of the object. The first aircraft radars were concepted and built in World War II and now they are one of the most important parts in modern aerial combat and civilian use.


The idea of using radio waves to detect objects had first been proposed in a 1922 paper, presented to the Institute of Radio Engineers in New York by Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of radio. Marconi observed that, during some of his tests, he noticed the effects of reflection and deflection of radio waves by metallic objects located miles away. This effect led to Marconi proposing a system which would allow ships traveling in fog or bad weather to avoid collisions by detecting the presence of other ships in the area.[1] Scientist at Bell Telephone laboratories in New Jersey, and at Britain's General Post Office research station, had noticed that short wave radio signals fluttered when an aircraft passed by. However, not only were none of these findings pursued by the military authorities, but at least one direct approach to conduct further research into the phenomenon was turned down by the War Office and the Admiralty.[2]


Aircraft Radar Transmitters Range against 1m² target
F-22 Raptor AN/APG-77 2300 240 km+
PAK-FA 1500 160 km (as 480 km against 3 m²)
Eurofighter 1424 180 km
F-35 AN/APG-81 1200+ 150 km


  1. Budiansky, Stephen. Air Power. Viking. 2003. ISBN 0 670 91251 4 Page 193
  2. Budiansky, Stephen. Pages 193-194