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Sunday, January 5, 2014

The paradox of air defense

In order for an aircraft to defend itself against incoming missiles, it must be able to detect them. The only practical method for that is radar. But the use of this radar puts out a signal enemy missiles can use to track the aircraft. I know that in the Vietnam War, a separate plane out of missile range would provide the radar coverage for the strike aircraft, so there's one way to resolve it.

I don't know, but I strongly suspect that ground-based radar has a longer range than aircraft radar. If that's the case, the best air defense has the edge over the best air attack. There's a limit to how much radar equipment you can fit into a plane, so there is a limit to how far its radar can see. Ground-based radar can be scaled-up indefinitely.

Whoever can see the farthest can shoot first. Whoever shoots first will win.  

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