The SPS-52 Navy shipboard 3-D Air Search radar is a very long range search radar with medium detection probability. The AN/SPS-52C can detect air targets at ranges in excess of 200nm. Being a 3 Dimensional Radar, it provides range, bearing and height information to the combat system. The planar array antenna employs frequency scanning to steer the radar beam and is capable of providing altitude on targets in excess of 100,000 feet. The Radar feeds this data into the ship's Integrated Automated Detection and Tracking system (IADT) AN/SYS-1, which provides targeting data for the ship's fire control system. AN/SYS-1 also presents this information on a Multi Functional Display and interfaces with the Naval Combat Data System computer to exchange track information.

The radar has a number of different modes which allow operators to select the best picture based on environmental conditions. As frequency is varied, the radar's beam axis changes, and scanning can be accomplished in one axis (either elevation or azimuth). Variation in frequency tends to make this radars more resistant to jamming than if operated at a fixed frequency, and it also provides a solution to the blind speed problem in MTI systems. Frequency scanning does impose some limitations in that a large portion of the available frequency band is used for scanning rather than to optimize resolution of targets. Additionally, this imposes the requirement that the receiver bandwidth be extremely wide or that the receiver be capable of shifting the center of a narrower bandwidth with the transmitted frequency.

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