Tuesday, July 16, 2013

There Be Some Naughty Cuba-NoKo Arms Goings-on Here

Arrrrgh! A NoKo "Fan Song Swan Song"?

This is developing fast! The BBC and others report "North Korean ship with 'military cargo' held by Panama"

The Ship? The delightfully named "Chong Chon Gang" .

First reports just mentioned 'missiles' and 'missile tech' with pics, the text suggesting possible missile containers:

Military Contraband Hidden under 'Cuban Raw Sugar'
But that didn't look like a 'missile container to me, what with those 'parts' attached to it like we see in the picture. This looked vaguely familiar.....Kind of like a piece of this (in red):

Backside of  Fan Song Radar  
If you still can't 'see' the resemblance, how about if I clip, flip and magnify the detail?

Fan Song Detail, Flipped Upside Down
See the resemblance now?

Details emerging:
1. Allegedly (wink wink, nudge, nudge) there was an 'anonymous tip' about some drug smuggling.
2. Chong Chon Gang crew resisted Panamanian forces when they tried to board.
3. The NoKo freighter's Captain had a 'heart attack', and has now tried to commit suicide.
4. Seeing 'Fan Song' radar 'dish' showing up in some articles now.

The 'Fan Song' is an oldie but a goodie, usually associated with the SA-2 missile system, which with upgrades can still be a nasty piece of trouble for even modern jets. A description of the Vietnam Era system:
An S-Band FAN SONG radar is installed in one of the centrally located vans and provides target position data to a computer. It also has the added task of providing individual target position data on as many as three missiles. It must do this at the same time as it is providing target information to a system computer. The requirement for a single radar to track and lock on to as many as four targets simultaneously necessitates that the radar continually look at several points in space. This requirement implies that the FAN SONG searches, or scans, at the same time that it locks on to, or tracks, several targets. This was in fact the case. The FAN SONG technique of locking on while searching is called Track-While-Scan.

The target tracking data that the FAN SONG radar must provide to the missile computer is azimuth, elevation and range. To provide this information, the FAN SONG has two transmitters operating at different frequencies, each feeding an antenna. One antenna produces a sectoring azimuth beam and the other a sectoring elevation beam. The dimensions of each of the beams are 2 degrees by 10 degrees. The 2-degree wide, 10-degree high azimuth beam is scanned right to left for 20 degrees. The 2-by-10-degree elevation beam is scanned up and down 20 degrees. The two sweeping beams intersect to cover a 10-by-10-degree sector.
Newer versions are believed to be more capable. I'll bet this deal was a 'complicated' one to start with, and it just got more complicated.



USSHelm said...

Wow. Didn't even think about that, I was having trouble matching the objects to Nork missiles anyway.

Anonymous said...

Very nice catch. It makes you wonder about the efficacy of various sanctions regimes. On the one hand we know that they have in the past proliferated nuclear technology. On the other they seem to be buying pretty low end systems (comparatively) to bolster their military's capability.