Beam Rider Guidance
The beam rider concept relies on an external ground- or ship-based radar station that transmits a beam of radar energy towards the target. The surface radar tracks the target and also transmits a guidance beam that adjusts its angle as the target moves across the sky.
Beam rider guidance
The missile is launched into this guidance beam and uses it for direction. Scanning systems onboard the missile detect the presence of the beam and determine how close the missile is to the edges of it. This information is used to send command signals to control surfaces to keep the missile within the beam. In this way, the missile "rides" the external radar beam to the target.
Beam riding was often used on early surface-to-air missiles but was found to become inaccurate at long ranges. Limited improvement was possible using two different surface-based radar beams, but the beam rider method has been largely abandoned. The technique was used on the US Navy's Terrier ship-launched surface-to-air missile of the 1950s.
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