Semi-active Radar Homing

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What causes "Weapon cannot have its target illuminated-missile is self destructing."

This can happen under two circumstances:

1) The SAM arrives at the target location while the target cannot be illuminated by the firing ship (usually because it is sea-skimming and under the ship's radar horizon, but can also happen because of jamming, LOS breakage etc.). 2) You have more SAMs arriving at their targets concurrently than you have illumination channels. For example if you have 4 channels (Tico) and you have 6 SM-2MRs intercepting their targets, you can only illuminate for four of them. There is simply no time to paint for all.

Both of these issues stem from the fundamental philosophy of Aegis: Don't limit the number of missiles-in-air by the number of illumination channels and don't require a pre-fire lock and illumination; instead get as many SAMs in the air as possible (IIRC 24 concurrently in the case of Tico) and illuminate them as late as possible. Sometimes this can mean that illumination will be found to not be possible at the endgame and the SAM will be wasted. From the SAM operator's point of view, this is an acceptable "cost of doing business with Aegis" (and much preferrable to the pre-Aegis problems).

The USN is employing a number of solutions to these issues:

  • CEC (Cooperative Engagement Capability) which essentially brings the concept of buddy-lazing to SAM engagements (you shoot, I guide)
  • SM-2MR BlkIIB, which has an extra IR seeker in addition to the SARH seeker and thus can still engage the target (if it detects it on IR) even without terminal SARH illumination.
  • SM-6 ERAM, which has an active radar seeker and thus does not require TSARH illumination at all.

BTW, the high-flier is SS-N-12 Sandbox [P-500 Bazalt/P-1000 Vulkan] while the sea skimmer is SS-N-19 Shipwreck [P-700 Granit]. <ref></ref> <references/>