Faced with the prospect of aerial stealth proliferation, states in the 21st century are looking for anti-stealth defense options. One such alternative, passive radar, appears a cost-effective counter to stealth. Passive radar is a receive-only system that uses transmitters of opportunity.
Integrating a system of netted receivers, passive radar can detect, track, and target piloted and unpiloted stealth systems and provide cuing for antiair weapons systems. A passive radar system emits no radio energy and can be well camouflaged in both urban and rural landscapes. The threat system produces no indications on friendly radar warning receivers and is difficult to locate and target.
Faced with a passive radar threat, the United States may find itself unable to achieve air superiority at an acceptable cost.
As this article shows, ongoing advances in passive radar will deny traditional means to defeat enemy air defenses, make air superiority difficult to achieve against a passive radar opponent, and require changes in thinking to maintain U.S. power projection capability. In developing this central idea, this article describes the history of the battle between aircraft and radar, the rise of stealth and counter-stealth, and the ongoing surge in passive radar and how it relates to advances in signal processing and sensor fusion.
Additionally, this article assesses the passive radar threat to stealth, posits implications for future U.S. military power, and recommends a U.S. course of action regarding passive radar. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full article (8 pages in PDF format) on the National Defense University website.