M.Hirst - Sight for blind men /Avionics analysed/ (1)
Royal Air Force Harriers (illustrated) and Jaguars have laser ranger and marked target seeker (LRMTS) sensors in the nose. During close air-support operations, a controller on the ground aims a laser at the target he wants to be destroyed. The gimballed optics in the LRMTS lock-on to the marked target and laser pulses are emitted and times to provide ranging data.
Infra-red heat-seeking missiles - such as these Matra Magics on a Jaguar - detect "hot-spots" such as aircraft exhausts and will home onto the radiation. Receivers are now so sensitive that even when launched from ahead of the target they will detect sufficient radiation to home onto the exhaust.
The two blisters under the nose of this Boeing B-52G Stratofortress enclose a Westinghouse AVQ-22 low-light television (LLTV) camera in the nearest port, and a Hughes AAQ-6 forward-looking infra-red (FLIR) sensor in the further protrusion. When not in use the equipment is protected by shutters.
A loop aerial on a Bristol Blenheim V. When aligned relative to the electric field set up by a radio transmission, such an aerial is very sensitive to changes in the direction of flight, and can provide an indication to guide a pilot towards a radio beacon. It was widely used in World War II and is still used today, although the loop is now embedded in a dielectric block which attaches to the aircraft skin to reduce drag.
During trials on Salisbury Plain on 27 September 1910, Robert Loraine sent a morse wireless message "Enemy in sight" while flying a Bristol Boxkite. It was received over a quarter of a mile away. The only earlier recorded airborne wireless transmission took place one month before, in Canada.