Plot (radar)

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The surface plot on a Cold War era British warship

In naval terminology, a plot is a graphic display that shows all collated data from a ship's on-board sensors, i.e. radar, sonar and EW systems. They also displayed information from external sources - for example, other vessel or aircraft reports. There are four different types of plot, each with varying capabilities, i.e. range, depending on their role;[1]

  • Air plot: Used for tracking air contacts, i.e. planes and EW information.
  • Surface plot: Used for tracking contacts on the surface of the water, i.e. other ships.[2][3][4] It can also perform a variety of roles such as:
  • Sub-surface plot: Used for tracking contacts below the surface of the water, i.e. submarines.
  • General operations plot: Used for tracking shipping on a large-scale chart. Was also used to display exercise boundaries, airplanes and other significant features of maritime interest. In the Royal Australian Navy, the scale used was generally 5 or 10 miles (8.0 or 16.1 km) per 1 inch (25 mm).


  1. ^ Friedman, Norman (2006). Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems (Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapons Systems). US Naval Institute Press. p. 85. ISBN 1-55750-262-5. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  2. ^ a b c Federation of American Scientists. "INFORMATION SHEET". Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  3. ^ a b c NAVAL ORDNANCE AND GUNNERY VOLUME 2, FIRE CONTROL (1958). "CHAPTER-16-G". Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  4. ^ a b United States Navy. "Radar Bulletin No. 6, (RADSIX), CIC Manual". Retrieved 2008-12-11.