Look-down/shoot-down

look downlook down shoot downlook-downcan lock onto and track small objects even at low altitudedetect targets below the horizonlookdownlookdown/shootdown capability
A radar system has look-down/shoot-down capability if it can detect, track and guide a weapon to an air target moving below the horizon as seen by the radar.wikipedia
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Pulse-Doppler radar

Dopplerpulse-Dopplerpulse doppler
Frequency domain signal processing combined with time domain signal processing, as in pulse-Doppler radar, is a way to eliminate that vulnerability.
This gives pulse-Doppler radars "look-down/shoot-down" capability.

Radar

radar stationradarsradar system
A radar system has look-down/shoot-down capability if it can detect, track and guide a weapon to an air target moving below the horizon as seen by the radar.
The alternate purpose is "look-down/shoot-down" capability required to improve military air combat survivability.

McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II

F-4F-4 Phantom IIF-4 Phantom
The first aircraft to rely completely on its own radar system is the F-4 Phantom.
It was equipped with J79-GE-10 engines with 17,844 lbf (79.374 kN) thrust, the Westinghouse AN/AWG-10 Fire Control System (making the F-4J the first fighter in the world with operational look-down/shoot-down capability), a new integrated missile control system and the AN/AJB-7 bombing system for expanded ground attack capability.

AN/ASG-18

Hughes
The Hughes AN/ASG-18 fire control system was a prototype airborne radar/combination system for the planned North American XF-108 Rapier interceptor aircraft for the United States Air Force, and later for the Lockheed YF-12.
It was the US's first Pulse-Doppler radar, giving it look-down/shoot-down capability, and was also the first track while scan radar (could track one target at a time).

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23

MiG-23MiG-23BNMiG-23s
The Soviet Union introduced its first look-down/shoot-down radar with the Sapfir-23P on the Mikoyan MiG-23 interceptor.
It was the first Soviet fighter to field a look-down/shoot-down radar and one of the first to be armed with beyond visual range missiles.

North American XF-108 Rapier

XF-108F-108F-108 Rapier
The Hughes AN/ASG-18 fire control system was a prototype airborne radar/combination system for the planned North American XF-108 Rapier interceptor aircraft for the United States Air Force, and later for the Lockheed YF-12.
It was to have look-down/shoot-down capability, but could track only one target at a time.

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

F-15F-15 EagleF-15s
When speaking of coalition air operations during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, General Charles Horner described the F-15's look down/shoot down radar, "During the first three days of the war, when control of the air was greatly contested, what it basically amounted to was the Iraqi aircraft would take off, pull up their landing gear, and blow up."
The F-15 has a "look-down/shoot-down" radar that can distinguish low-flying moving targets from ground clutter.

Clutter (radar)

clutterground clutterradar clutter
That reflection and the ensuing "cluttered" display overwhelms human operators and computing systems (see ground clutter ).

Semi-active radar homing

SARHsemi-activesemi-active homing
Various weapons systems (including guns and missiles) are then employed against designated radar targets, either relying on the aircraft's radar employing the "look down" capability (as in semi-active radar homing) or the weapon's own active radar to resolve the indicated target (as in active radar homing).

Active radar homing

active radar seekerARHactive radar
Various weapons systems (including guns and missiles) are then employed against designated radar targets, either relying on the aircraft's radar employing the "look down" capability (as in semi-active radar homing) or the weapon's own active radar to resolve the indicated target (as in active radar homing).

Doppler effect

Dopplerdoppler shiftDoppler shifts
Look-down/shoot-down radars have been enhanced with electronic programs that process the radar image and search for moving objects, which are detected by looking for Doppler shifts in the radar return.

Moving target indication

moving target indicatorground moving target indicationMTI
See moving target indication.

Lockheed YF-12

YF-12YF-12AA-11
The Hughes AN/ASG-18 fire control system was a prototype airborne radar/combination system for the planned North American XF-108 Rapier interceptor aircraft for the United States Air Force, and later for the Lockheed YF-12.

List of McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II variants

F-4ERF-4CRF-4E
The F-4J had the Westinghouse AN/AWG-10 fire control system (making the F-4J the first fighter in the world with look-down/shoot-down capability).

AN/APQ-120

AN/APG-59AN/APQ-72AN/AWG-10
The F-4J had the Westinghouse AN/AWG-10 fire control system (making the F-4J the first fighter in the world with look-down/shoot-down capability).

Fire-control system

fire controlfire control systemfire-control director
The F-4J had the Westinghouse AN/AWG-10 fire control system (making the F-4J the first fighter in the world with look-down/shoot-down capability).

Nap-of-the-earth

terrain maskinglow-levelterrain mask
This creates a zone of weakness near and below the horizon that is used to hide from the radar (Terrain masking).

Gulf War

Persian Gulf WarOperation Desert ShieldOperation Desert Storm
When speaking of coalition air operations during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, General Charles Horner described the F-15's look down/shoot down radar, "During the first three days of the war, when control of the air was greatly contested, what it basically amounted to was the Iraqi aircraft would take off, pull up their landing gear, and blow up."

Chuck Horner

Charles HornerCharles A. "Chuck" HornerCharles A. Horner
When speaking of coalition air operations during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, General Charles Horner described the F-15's look down/shoot down radar, "During the first three days of the war, when control of the air was greatly contested, what it basically amounted to was the Iraqi aircraft would take off, pull up their landing gear, and blow up."

AN/APG-63 radar family

AN/APG-63(V)2APG-63(V)3APG-70
When speaking of coalition air operations during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, General Charles Horner described the F-15's look down/shoot down radar, "During the first three days of the war, when control of the air was greatly contested, what it basically amounted to was the Iraqi aircraft would take off, pull up their landing gear, and blow up."

Radar Doppler Multitarget

RDY-2Radar Doppler Multitarget (RDY)RC400 (RDY-3)
Radar Doppler Multitarget (RDY in its French acronym) is a multimode Look-down/shoot-down Pulse-Doppler radar designed by Thomson-CSF (now Thales) for the Mirage 2000-5 fighter.

Dassault Mirage 2000

Mirage 2000Mirage 2000-5Mirage
Look-down/shoot-down capabilities are much improved as well, but this radar is not usually used for air-to-surface roles.

Mikoyan MiG-31

MiG-31MiG-31 FoxhoundMikoyan MiG-31 'Foxhound
An important development was the MiG-31's advanced radar, capable of both look-up and look-down/shoot-down engagement, as well as multiple target tracking.

Boeing E-3 Sentry

AWACSE-3Sentry AEW1
These developments allowed airborne radars to "look down", detect the movement of low-flying aircraft (see Look-down/shoot-down), and discriminate, even over land, target aircraft's movements—previously this had been impossible, due to the inability to discriminate an aircraft's track from ground clutter.

Rockwell B-1 Lancer

B-1B-1BB-1B Lancer
The same effects also meant that low-flying aircraft were difficult to detect by higher-flying interceptors, since their radar systems could not readily pick out opposing aircraft against the clutter from ground reflections (lack of look-down/shoot-down capability).