The Beam Maneuver

Unread postPosted: 18 Aug 2008, 21:10
by avon1944
For so many years those of us who also like the F-15 have heard about the Su-27 and how the it could use the beam maneuver to defeat the F-15's BVR shot. Then the Su-27, once lost would maneuver in position to take an IR shot. I would like to know, "why the F-15 does not use the beam maneuver to defeat the Su-27's or other opposition's radar? (It is not as if this is some recent discovery, I discovered the A-6 Intruders used it on MiG-21's over Viet Nam.)

When flying CAP missions do the F-16 use the 'big wall' formation to counter possible opponents?


RE: The Beam Maneuver

Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2008, 15:33
by Studa
Those tactical discussions are probably best left to places where not everybody in the world can read about them. :nono:

RE: The Beam Maneuver

Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2008, 16:25
by yasirbhojani
I have heard the maneuver " Beam " for the first time in my life.....But that looks like an interesting maneuver so wait...Maybe I could find something on that...

RE: The Beam Maneuver

Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2008, 16:35
by yasirbhojani
These are all what I have been able to find but they contain not even a word of beam maneuver but maybe they could help so I felt like sharing it....

RE: The Beam Maneuver

Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2008, 19:53
by Guysmiley
Anyone who knows the theory of how pulse doppler radar works knows about it. Any one who doesn't probably won't understand it even if it's explicitly explained. And with advanced signal processors and multi-PRF radars these days it really isn't the insta-win tactic it was touted to be.

Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2008, 22:34
by outlaw162
"Beam me up."


regards, OL

Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2008, 23:02
by Gums

Nothing classified about the "beam maneuver".

If other dude has a pulse doppler radar with a minimum velocity "gate" it's effective.

For example, if fast-moving tgts are on the ground, or are helo's you don't wanna see, then some radars would not present them on the "black" screen. The original Viper settings were something like 60 knots. Hence we would pick up speeding demons on the freeways or highways. This speed was increased for the European Vipers once they were in Germany due to the autobahn traffic. Might even have been selactable.

So what you do is turn sharply before the other guys launches and kill your relative velocity so as to get under his velocity "gate". You disappear from his display. You "beam" him, up or sideways.

The old-fashioned radars would track you, as they didn't use doppler velocities. So this didn't work on F-4's (except Marine versions).

I cannot imagine a modern radar that quits tracking once locked on for a missile shot. Then there's the Slammer's built-in radar for fairly close shots. I'll guarantee that you can't beat a Slammer if it is launched within 6 or 7 miles (just guesssing on range).

The main tactical consideration is with a flight of bad guys. If they are in a formation and spread out horizontally, then it's hard to beam both at once. Get it?


Gums sends ....

Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2008, 03:59
by Roscoe
To add to what Gums said, the reason for the velocity gate or "notch" is to keep ground clutter off the screen. While hurt doesn't move, cars do and it's amazing what wind through trees can do to clutter up a Doppler radar (i.e. something with relative motion directly to or away from the radar). 60 kts was chosen because it hid cars. Anything less than that is referred to as "in the Doppler notch". Like he said, once Vipers hit Germany and encountered the Autobahn, the notch was increased to 110 or so knots, and it was selectable. Beaming simply refers to turning sideways (or vertical) so that your speed relative to the other guy was inside his notch...think crossing the "T" with the radar at the base and your flight path across the top.

Funny story that Gums will appreciate...For a marketing demo, in 1996 or so Northrop Grumman put an export F-16 APG-66 radar and F-20 software in an F-5 and I supported the flight test. Seems that the math to convert moving, turning, pitching airplane into an earth-based reference frame was done twice, once in the radar and once in the F-20 S/W, so there was no notch. Around Edwards AFB there are hundreds of wind turbines...imagine the pilot's surprise when every blade's Doppler return came back unfiltered. Couldn't see an airplane a mile off his nose through the clutter.

Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2008, 05:10
by EBJet
The good old days of the "Tiger IV"...Somewhere I have a polaroid of me sitting in the cockpit of the little beastie.

RE: The Beam Manuever

Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2008, 07:14
by avon1944
Thanx "Gums" your explanation was fine and that is a cute story Roscoe. Thank you very much guys. -Adrian

Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2008, 22:55
by Gums

Nice story, Roscoe, and I was on the Northrop team for the lawsuit versus McAir back in 85 and 86. Got about 40 or 50 hours in the sim and was within a few hours of actually flying the thing when the lawyers called it off (seems that our other expert witness was Yeager, who had flown both the Hornet and the Tigershark).

Folks have to realize that the doppler display makes it real easy on the pilot or RIO/GIB. The first and second and third airborne radar I flew with had all the ground clutter. If below the other guy, a black screen and the dots were real clear. Down low or when looking low, the secret was to spot the dot that was not moving as fast as the clutter. So the doppler radars took care of that.

The early pulse dopplers ( none are flying today in U.S. planes, and prolly none in enema planes) still went to traditional radar tracking without regard to the doppler shift. Simply send the pulse, get the reflection, and go from there. The Double Ugly and early Eagles used the Sparrow (the Great White Hope). The plane's radar sent a doppler velocity to the missile to help it. So a second or two was spent "tuning" the missile seeker before launch. The fighter then illuminated the tgt and the missile seeker homed in.

All that stuff went away in the late 80's. The Slammer!!! And I am sure that the potential enemies are following the trend.

From a personal view, my best success versus a doppler system when it was a SA-6. If you beamed that sucker's main unit or the missile, it went blind. Trust me, I did it. Then turned in direct to the site and blew it to smithereens, heh heh.

The new stuff out there is a quantum leap over what everybody had 10-15 years ago. That being said, I would still try to "beam" the bad guy, then try to get close before he picked me up again on his radar. There are ways to tell if he still has you, so you know when to trun and run.

Gums sends ....

Unread postPosted: 26 Aug 2008, 06:38
by F16guy
Gums, you can still beam the other guy's radar and get in close before he picks you up ...its called stealth. :whistle:

Just imagine, now you don't have lose your SA on the bad guy... :wink:

Re: The Beam Maneuver

Unread postPosted: 02 Aug 2017, 21:16
by klearhos

Notching can be used by any fighter against any fighter. Notching decreases the enemy's firing range by a substantial amount.

Notching at any altitude incapacitates high-PRF radars. This is important because long range detections and engagements (with very long range air-air missiles, eg AIM54) require high-PRFs. Against a med-PRF radar, notching at any altitude immediately denies the enemy use of the TWS function. Airborne TWS won't track targets that do not doppler-correlate. (Ground based or ship-borne phased array radars have other options, themselves still far from invulnerable). The enemy med-PRF radar will have to revert to STT thereby losing SA. STT may not be defeated by this maneuver unless our fighter can get into clutter (eg get below the enemy) or create some clutter of its own by deploying decoys.

Another example of this technique comes from the war on Serbia in 1999. USAF F-15 plt Michael K. Shower found a Mig29, engaged it with an AIM-7 and an AIM-120, but the MiG notched and both missiles missed. Then the MiG decided to counter-attack and started an ill-designed turn into the F-15, which then fired another AIM-120 now from 6 nm and bugged it.

The new equipment integrated onto fighters in the 90's was meant to deal with this tactic.

First and foremost our fighters need to form a PINCER around the enemy group and the wide separation of groups in a text-book WALL guarantees that. The enemy a/c cannot notch all the groups. The a/c in contact then use the intra-flight DOLLY (data-link) to keep everyone in the game. So, even he's notched on you, you still see him on your displays.

Now in response to our pincer, it was customary for the enemy group, that we have boxed in, to SHACKLE not once but sometimes twice. So you may fire at an enemy a/c and then it might turn and break your lock. You just wasted a missile. At the same time you may be able to lock up another a/c which has now turned into you. New missiles like the AIM-120D are here to solve this problem, for they may be re-targeted on to the new contact.

It should be now evident that the new equipment and weapons did not just grow in some lab, but rather came about as a response to tactical realities that had much to do with defeating notching.

The Europeans have taken it a bit further. They have developed new radars for their jets that have a wider than normal field of view that extends to the sides. Therefore they can fire their missiles, which are very long ranged, then notch and avoid your shot by thus decreasing your firing range, while keeping you in the radar FOV, so as to provide updates to their own missiles. Further still they have "networked" their missiles so that they can be fired in a PUMP maneuver. Which means the firing a/c is running from your missile while you run into his.

Well, times change, empires rise and fall. And rise again.

Re: The Beam Maneuver

Unread postPosted: 03 Aug 2017, 06:16
by madrat
You're boxing in 3-dimensions in the F-35. Do those European aircraft have a tall enough cone to compete when they are searching for your group? I cannot imagine that any existing aircraft from any previous design were ready for the F-35's relative rapid expansion of SA.

Re: The Beam Maneuver

Unread postPosted: 03 Aug 2017, 10:06
by klearhos
madrat wrote:You're boxing in 3-dimensions in the F-35

Really? Which 3 dimensions?

madrat wrote: Do those European aircraft have a tall enough cone to compete when they are searching for your group?

What's a tall enough cone?