AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder radar
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Hughes AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder weapon locating system is a mobile radar system developed in the mid-late 1970s by Hughes Aircraft Company and manufactured by Northrop Grumman and ThalesRaytheonSystems, achieving initial operational capability in May, 1982. The system is a "weapon-locating radar", designed to detect and track incoming mortar, artillery and rocket fire to determine the point of origin for counterbattery fire. It is currently in service at battalion and higher levels in the United States Army, United States Marine Corps and Australian Army. Also Turkish Army , Portugal and Ukrainian Army are among the users.
The radar is typically trailer-mounted and towed by a Humvee.
Firefinder (V)7 adds a modular azimuth position system (MAPS). MAPS has a north seeking laser gyrocompass and a microprocessor controlled Honeywell H-726 inertial navigation system. Prior Firefinders used a survey team to find site latitude, longitude, and direction to North. With MAPS, reaction time was limited only by site set-up, since system geo-position was pre-loaded before sortie deployment. Crew was reduced from 8 to 6.
Firefinder (V)8 extends system performance, improves operator survivability and lowers life cycle cost. Greater processing power and the addition of a low noise amplifier to the radar antenna improves detection range (by up to 50%) and performance accuracy against certain threats.
The AN/TPQ-36 is an electronically steered radar, meaning the radar antenna does not actually move while in operation. The radar antenna may however be moved manually if required. The system may also be operated in a friendly fire mode to determine the accuracy of counterbattery return fire, or for conducting radar registration or mean point of impact calibrations for friendly artillery.
It can locate mortars, artillery, and rocket launchers, simultaneously locate 10 weapons, locate targets on first round and perform high-burst, datum-plane, and impact registrations. It can be used to adjust friendly fire, interfaces with tactical fire and predicts the impact of hostile projectiles.
Its maximum range is 24 km with effective range of 18 km for artillery and 24 km for rockets. Its azimuth sector is 90°. It operates in the X-band at 32 frequencies. Peak transmitted power is 23 kW, min.
It features permanent storage for 99 targets, has a field exercise mode and uses a digital data interface.
Northrop Grumman manufactures the AN/TPQ-36(V)8 Firefinder radar. Before acquisition by Raytheon, the Hughes Aircraft Co. developed the AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder radar at its Fullerton, California facility, and manufactured it at its Forest, Mississippi plant.
Per the Joint Electronics Type Designation System (JETDS), the nomenclature AN/TPQ-36 is thus derived:
- "AN/" indicating Army/Navy(Marines)--a system nomenclature derived from the JETDS.
- "T" for 'transportable', indicating it is carried by a vehicle but is not an integral part of said vehicle (compare with 'V' for vehicle-mounted).
- "P" indicating a position finder (radar).
- "Q" for a special-purpose(multipurpose) radar, in this case counterbattery.
- "36" is the 36'th version of this family, of TPQ radars.
- Ukraine Monitors Cease-Fire Violations With U.S.-Supplied Radars Archived 2017-12-27 at the Wayback Machine, Radio Free Europe (27 December 2017)
- U. S. Army Depot Command, Sacramento Army Depot (8 January 1991). "FIREFINDER AN/TPQ-6 (V) 7 BLOCK IIB". Preliminary Design Review: SYSTEM INTEGRATION.