06 October 2009

Probably the first attempt at an all-in-one hunter-killer aircraft to hunt down and destroy enemy radars came in 1944 with the Royal Air Force's Project Abdullah. Unlike US efforts that focused on radar-finding aircraft to cue attacking aircraft, Project Abdullah consisted of an electronic radar hunting device fitted to three Hawker Typhoons of the No. 1320 Special Duty Flight in May 1944.

In the cockpit of the Typhoon was a CRT display connected to a radar homing receiver. The receiver was tuned to the known operating frequencies of the German radar. Once in the vicinity of a suspected radar site, the pilot turned on the Abdullah equipment and once alerted to an active radar site, he would try to visually locate the site and either attack it or fire smoke marker rockets to mark it for further attack by waiting aircraft.

Despite an impressive step forward in the suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), the German countermeasures were as simple as either turning off the radar knowing the Abdullah aircraft were in the area to changing the radar frequency as the homing equipment on the Typhoon had to be preset before takeoff.

Source: Wild Weasel Fighter Attack: The Story of the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses by Thomas Withington. Pen & Sword Books, 2008, p23.

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