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Military question

aero99

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Last night on the 5 o'clock weather they showed a pretty big radar return just south of DFW. It was probably 80 miles by 20 miles in size. The weather guy said this wasn't rain, but metal chaffing(sp?) from miltary aircraft.

When I was in the Navy, the ships had a metal shaffing to misdirect incoming missles. I don't remember how much particle was released but it didn't seem to be that much.

I have never heard a weather guy state that a radar return was from military aircraft before, but I guess it makes since. Do aircraft have this as a defense and if used would it return a radar hit of 80 x 20 miles?
 

Chocks

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Chaff

They were talking about chaff. Several military aircraft, including some helicopters can eject pods of chaff to try and confuse radar missiles. Basically they create a cloud of floating pieces of metal (kind of like tinsel from a xmas tree) that confuse radar. They aren't attached to anything, just float for a while.

Bill
 

aero99

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Learn something new every day.

Thanks chocks!
 

bobbysamd

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Chaff

Chaff use started during WWII. Bombers dropped narrow aluminum strips to generate spurious returns on nazi radar, which confused their anti-aircraft and air defenses.
 

Hugh Jorgan

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Chaff use can vary widely. It can punched out by small aircraft just trying to generate a false radar return to avoid an incoming missle or a huge cloud as you described can be dropped to mask a large area. Neat stuff. I used to be a radar operator and have seen enormous clouds of chaff through which no radar could penetrate. Well, no conventional radars, that is. The chaff is cut to be half the wavelength of the target radar. It's possible for it to be effecive against some radars and others not due to complex wave/pulse configurations.
 
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