Instrument to detect and track distant objects

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Possible Answers: RADAR.

Last seen on: Irish Times Simplex Crossword – Jun 22 2017

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Random information on the term “RADAR”:

Conical scanning is a system used in early radar units to improve their accuracy, as well as making it easier to steer the antenna properly to point at a target. Conical scanning is similar in concept to the earlier lobe switching concept used on some of the earliest radars, and many examples of lobe switching sets were modified in the field to conical scanning during World War II, notably the German Würzburg radar. Antenna guidance can be made entirely automatic, as in the American SCR-584. Potential failure modes and susceptibility to deception jamming led to the replacement of conical scan systems with monopulse radar sets. They are still used by the Deep Space Network for maintaining communications links to space probes. The spin-stabilized Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 probes used onboard conical scanning maneuvers to track Earth in its orbit.

A typical radar antenna commonly has a beam width of a few degrees. While this is adequate for locating the target in an early warning role, it is not nearly accurate enough for gun laying, which demands accuracies on the order of 0.1 degrees. It is possible to improve the beam width through the use of larger antennas, but this is often impractical.

RADAR on Wikipedia