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(03/02/03)The Radar Pages(03/02/03)

Tactical, Air Traffic Control and airfield radars

AN/TPS-34 Tactical Radar

Radar type AN/TPS-34 (sketch from JSP 6 via Richard Vernon)
Radar type AN/TPS-34
(sketch from JSP 6 via Richard Vernon)

Radar type AN/TPS-34 radiation pattern (sketch from JSP 6 via Richard Vernon)
Radar type AN/TPS-34 radiation pattern
(sketch from JSP 6 via Richard Vernon) 

The AN/TPS-34 radar, together with its associated GL161 Computer System was a component of the ACC. The equipment was transportable in Tac T medium range (MR) aircraft however due to the size and weight of it's components transportation required six C130 Hercules transport aircraft. The Royal Air Force bought six of these systems originally however only three were in service in 1975. They were phased out in 1980-1981. The AN/TPS-34 operated out to 250 nautical miles at heights up to 100,000 feet.

Radar Type AN/TPS-34 (from JSP 6)


: 1250 - 1350 Mhz

Wave length

: L-band

Aerial rotation

: 6 r.p.m.

Air transportable

: Yes


: V beam twin reflector common axis

Vertical beam width

: Slant beam 2.2o, vertical beam 1.6o

Horizontal beam width

: 2.2o

Peak power

: 5000 kW x2


: 295

Pulse length

: 6.1

RX amplifier

: Log + Lin

Range accuracy

: ▒2 nm at 250 nm

Range resolution

: 1,500 yards

Bearing accuracy

: 0.2o

Bearing resolution

: 2o

Height accuracy

: ▒2,500 feet at 125 nm

Range on "Canberra" at 20,000 feet

: Radar horizon

Range on "Canberra" at 40,000 feet

: Radar horizon

Concise Details of Radar Type AN/TPS-34: (Annex B to AP 3401, chapter 22)

1.      Class of Equipment. The TPS-34 is a high power, air-transportable surveillance and control radar operating in the D-band of frequencies. It has integral height-finding using the V beam principle and several anti-jamming and anti-clutter facilities are available.

2.      Purpose of Equipment. The TPS-34 is used by the RAF for control and surveillance in two situations:
a.      In static sites overseas.
b.      In tactical deployments at short notice to unprepared sites.

3.      Frequencies. Overall 1,250 to 1,350 MJIz (D band).
a.      Vertical Beam-Tuneable in the D band range.
b.      Slant Beam-Tuneable in the D-band range.

4.      Coverage.
a.      Azimuth. 0
o to 360o in continuous scan.
b.      Elevation.
(1)     0
o to 45o for detection.
(2)     0
o to 30o for height finding.

5.      Range Performance. An 80% probability of paint on a 15 square metre target at 220 nm at 44,000 ft. Height finding capability to 240 nm.

6.      Radar Accuracy.
a.      Range. ▒ 1%.
b.      Azimuth. 1
o ▒ 0.3o.
c.      Elevation:
(1)     + 2,500 ft at 125 nm at 45,000 ft.
(2)     ▒ 3,500 ft at 125 nm to 200 nm at 45,000 ft.

7.      Discrimination.
a.      Range. 0.5 nm.
b.      Azimuth. 1 .6

8.      Aerial Characteristics.
a.      Polarization.
(1)     Vertical beam-horizontal.
(2)     Slant beam-vertical.
b.      Horizontal Beam width.
(1)     Vertical beam - 1.6
(2)     Slant beam - 2.3o

9.      Aerial Reflector. Double-walled, fibreglass, shaped, reflector with dual reflecting surfaces sensitive to polarized radiation, giving two separate beams. Assembled from 22 component sections.

10.     Aerial Feed. Two separate horns are used:
a.      Horizontal-polarization-sensitive for vertical beam.
b.      Vertical-polarization-sensitive for slant beam.

11.     Scanning Rate. Clockwise (viewed from above) at 6 rev/min.

12.     Transmitters.
Two transmitters are used, one for the vertical beam and one for the slant beam.
a.      Type. Magnetron.
b.      Pulse Width. 6 uS.
c.      PRF. 295 pps.
d.      Peak Power. 4 MW or better.

 Editors note: I am indebted to Kelvin Holmes, Richard Vernon and Robert Perry for providing the sketches and the technical details of British operated versions of the AN/TPS-34 tactical radar.

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Updated 02/07/2003

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