What Are the AN/TPQ-36 Counter-Artillery Radars Gifted to Ukraine – On Wednesday, the Biden White House announced a new $800 million package for Ukraine that consisted almost entirely of military equipment, weapons, and ammunition.
Among the weapons committed in the package were a number of AN/TPQ-36 counter-artillery radars – a piece of equipment developed in the 1970s that could assist Ukrainian soldiers in their efforts to locate Russian artillery weapons.
What is the AN/TPQ Counter-Artillery Radar?
First deployed in the early 1980s, the AN/TPQ-36 is a mobile short-range radar system that is used to locate rockets, artillery, and mortars with great accuracy.
Developed by the Hughes Aircraft Company and manufacturers by Thales Raytheon Systems and Northrop Grumman, this technology not only allows users to identify enemy weapons but is easy to maintain and controlled by a simple computer unit.
The system comprises an antenna-transceiver trailer, an operation control center, and a generator. A stationary antenna scans the horizon with a rapid sequence of beams, searching a 9-degree region for weapons. When a rocket or other weapons enter the radar zone, the machine begins an automatic tracking sequence and monitors the weapon.
Mounted on two-wheel trailers, the entire piece of equipment can be towed by most large vehicles.
While monitoring the direction of one weapon, the radar system continues to scan and search for more. The AN/TPQ can locate 10 weapons at the same time and can predict the impact site of hostile projectiles.
Much like the Switchblade drones gifted to Ukraine by the United States, which can be prepared within minutes and fit in a rucksack, this transportable military radar system can be set up and used within just 15 minutes. It can then be moved and redeployed within just five more minutes.
The AN/TPQ-36 can also detect weapons as far away as 24km, detect mortars at 18km, artillery at 14.5km away, and rockets at the maximum range of 24km.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.