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originally posted by: _Del_
A very rough estimate (and we're ignoring a lot of variables like signal strength, terrain masking, ground clutter, refractive indices, etc) can be derived from the Pythagorean theorum. If we measure the distance to the horizon from one observer we can use a simple right triangle because the horizon is a tangent to the earth's surface. Here's a nifty diagram I shamelessly stole from Bad Astronomy:
So the radius of the earth squared, plus the distance squared equals whatever the radius of the earth plus the observers height is as a sum squared.
So d = the square root of [h(2R + h)].
So for an airborne radar, we would complete the equation for both the airborne radar's height and horizon and the sneaky plane's height and horizon separately. Then we would we would add the distances to the horizon together and find the detection level. A few hundred feet on either end can really make a difference.
originally posted by: StratosFear
Del pretty much nailed it but I had to chime in to say WHAT A LUCKY GUY YOU ARE getting to see those up close. The Swedish fighters are some of my favorite planes, especially the Draken, its just wicked looking. Do you have to stop and let the occasional Gripen taxi down your freeway/interstate?