back to article Ford says new Taurus 'is fitted with stealth fighter radar'

US motor mammoth Ford have made a bizarre claim to have incorporated radar technology from the renowned F-22 Raptor - the most secret, most expensive fighter plane in the world - into a new mid-range family car. Amazingly the claim has been accepted without question by the BBC. An F-22 Raptor carries out a supersonic flyby …

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  1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Stop

    Power output.

    Does this thing cook rabbits at a 100 paces like some legends (myths?) we hear about other airborne intercept radar?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Renault

    I heard that Renault are doing a joint venture with Ford, combining the Clio with the Taurus and making a CliTaurus.

    Apparently good fun to drive, but men will struggle to find it. Regularly parked in hedgerows, etc, etc.

    IGMC

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Too many targets

    > However, one can be sure that it will track or "lock into" (normally the same thing) a hell of a lot more than 64 or even 100 targets

    This does seem rather pointless. If this aircraft ever found itself in a situation where there were "64 or even 100" targets, I'd suggest it was in deep, deep trouble: stealth or no stealth. While if might be able to track that many (although turning the radar on does kinda give away your position, so there goes any stealth advantage), it certainly doesn't have enough missiles to actually shoot them all. Definitely time to use it's reported top speed of 1600 MPH and run away as fast as it's little engines will let it.

    As far as the beeb's report goes: BBC? science? technology? We've known for years they don't "do" science. Costume dramas, soaps and small furry animals: yes. Anything that needs switching on: no.

  4. Mountford D
    Coat

    VW and the CliTaurus

    Indeed.

    Not to mention the age-old activity of trying to find a certain mysterious object known to many as Golf SPOTting.

    I'll get the other coat...

  5. Will Shaw
    FAIL

    Amerkins, grumblegrumblegrumble

    If I recall, the article also goes on to mention, almost as an afterthought, that the Taurus 2010 turns out around 17 mpg.

    Reports that a Ford employee expressed his delight that they could now manage "mpg" rather than "gpm" are unconfirmed.

    I mean, come on! It's a saloon car, not HMS Ark Royal.

  6. Dale 3

    Armaments?

    Armaments? What are the armaments? What good is a tracking radar on a car in a traffic jam if you don't have any armaments?

  7. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    Simple answer

    So much is being spent on "Vision" to allow the cross-pollination of talent with the deep synergies of core provision and dynamic content generation to herald a new wave of pro-active stakeholder buy-in and collateral democratisation....

    ...that anyone with a clue as to what is going one has either been sacked or quit. This means there's no one about to check facts, or gives to shits about facts.

    C'mon...this a company that can't even get their 'phones to work!

    I am continually staggered that the Beeb manages to stay on air and actually make any programmes at all!

  8. Random Noise
    Alert

    My Car

    My car features rail guns on a par with secret US Navy warships!

    Ok, ok it's got some solenoids which are used to lock the door remotely.

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Grenade

    It's a Perverse Capitalist Fat Cat Thing, y'all.

    Lewis,

    That would make the Raptor a flying White Elephant to accompany the Nimrod Pork Pig..... for both appear to be built for an enemy which doesn't materialise ........ but it does swallow up lot of lovely lucre, which is probably the main contract purpose of such Schemes/Projections/Productions/Stories.

    But paying through the Nose for Nothing Worthwhile is not an Intelligent thing to do as it Opens up the Narrative Field to Beta Greater Game Players with QuITe AIdDifferent Home/Foreign/Alien Intelligence being Servered Virtually for the Creation of ITs Media Hosted Realities. Or is it imagined/touted/pimped to be any more difficult/a lot more difficult than that Simplicity.

    I would of course disagree with the notion that it be any more difficult, having realised and thoroughly betatested IT to prove that it is surprisingly easy.

    As surprisingly easy as building and detonating a nuclear bomb, when you know how ....... although HyperRadioProActive IT Missions are many stages more disruptive and infrastructure destructive than any explosive munition can ever be. After all, they are just bigger dumber IEDs, no matter how smart they may be touted/presented.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    re: Too many targets #

    I think it depends on what you consider targets - if they were all hostile enemy objects in close proximity - yes in trouble. However a radar target probably means blips on the screen which it needs to track even to just eliminate as important/threat - this might include small flocks of birds. Also if it was limited to a hundred - then dropping some anti-radar counter measures may overload it's tracking capability

  11. Caffeine Junkie

    What happens when...

    .. every car has this inbuilt radar? There must be a limited set of freqencies for them to use. If every car is sending out radar pulses all the time wont they interfere with each other?

  12. Ian 45

    Ground Radar?

    So will the ground radar be able to pick up people or differentiate between a motorbike with a family on it versus a taliban fighter? Seems pretty pointless....

  13. Paul 25

    For "targets", read "contacts"

    @Pete 2

    For a radar, not everything you track is something you want to shoot down, sometimes it's your own people (which I guess for the yanks might be the same thing).

    And just because you can't shoot them all down, doesn't mean you don't want to keep a bloody good eye on them. They rarely fly solo, so the destructive capability of a single plane in combat is pretty irrelevant when considering the number of contacts you want to track.

    Also, you missed the bit in the article about it's spreadspectrum facility helping to keep it "stealthy" (which doesn't mean totally invisible to radar, just much harder to spot and track).

  14. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Too many targets

    Nobody said that the 100 targets are all hostile. They're just "things in the way". In fact, if you were trying to get past such a system, one technique might be to chuck out particles of something that shows up well on radar and hope to hide the real threat in amongst it.

    But it sounds like Ford have got a new parking sensor and hyped it up to the max.

  15. weirdcult
    Thumb Up

    really though

    you just wanted to post that picture didn't you?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Speaking from a position of authority Lewis?

    You may well mock, but the statement might have some element of truth to it, even if slightly exaggerated.

    There may be all sorts of restrictions on actual bits of F22, and on the more advanced/military specific technologies, but a lot of the underlying aspects are relatively open and have been exploited many times. And reuse of ex-military technology is nothing new.

    The basic design of the solid state array, the design rules & manufacturing techniques of the microwave parts, the compact/lightweight signal processors, the signal processing algorithms, the target classification techniques - lots of this stuff is going to be similar & the most likely source for a small, fast, lightweight, low target count radar technology is going to be derived from a airborne fast jet system.

    After all, the F22 stuff is quite a few years old now, and even if you can't take the secrets with you an engineer going from a military contractor to an automotive electronics supplier is still going to know much the same stuff and re-use the knowledge the next time they get a similar problem.

    Not that I'd know anything about it of course, I only worked on a ton of this stuff for a lot of countries and platform types...

    (BTW, I'd humbly suggest your 'distinguished analyst' knows nothing about anything - apart from the cost of a cut down mass produced version of the technology being much cheaper to do, you'd be hard pressed to tell where the technology actually came from - or even if it was just reworked from research papers - and even if *something* had been reused if it wasn't an actual aircraft part or had a potential military application no-one would care. As for shutting down the line... LOL )

  17. Pete 2 Silver badge

    @Paul 25

    > read "contacts"

    yes that makes much better sense.

    It brings to mind the old submariners saying: "there are two types of naval vessel - submarines and targets".

  18. OrientalHero
    Happy

    Target Rich Environment

    > However, one can be sure that it will track or "lock into" (normally the same thing) a hell of a lot more than 64 or even 100 targets

    Hmmm.... I don't think over 100 discrete radar blips neccessarily translate into 100 targets. An armoured convoy might easily come into that number particularly if it were traversing an urban area!

    But as the author said it's only just gotten that ground capability. So I think you'd be right in 100 targets being high for an aerial environment.

    Heh, but I think it's a bit worse than the 640KB limit if you were to hit it as a pilot.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Re: Too many targets #

    I was going to say just that. Only early warning aircraft need to track 64+ targets and having a lock on more than 8 is totally pointless because there is not enough armament to fire on them.

    Even Russians with their current "engage 360" doctrine for the latest Mig and Su do not try to track and lock that many. It is pointless.

    Also, 147 meters at road level to other targets on a road is actually a considerable achievement. I would not dismiss it with so much snigger.

  20. Mark 91

    Missing the point

    The Raptor is being upgraded to the new Delphi Electronically Scanning Radar, seeing as it can track ground targets and all.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Access *this*

    So Ford's "Global Chief Safety Engineer" doesn't know the differences between "assess" and "access"? Why should I buy a car from a company whose safety team is led by an illiterate?

  22. Schultz
    Flame

    Crucial difference

    One of the two vehicles described might deploy a radar homing missile, the other would rather play sitting duck.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bit jaded aren't we?

    The fact you can buy off the showroom floor a 4-door sedan with SYNTHETIC APERTURE RADAR that can perform threat assessment and track multiple targets is freakin' incredible, IMO. And all you can do is sniff at the temerity of the Ford marketing flacks to compare the functionality to that of the F-22 Raptor. What should they compare it to? A toaster? what?

    Geez, guys, are you that jaded? Go find somebody with gray hair (like me, for example) that remember the Radio Electronics issue with the home-brew Intel 4004 microcomputer on the front cover to gain a little perspective and sense of history regarding the distance we've traveling in less than half a century. Heck, an iPhone has more CPU power and storage than the refrigerator-sized minicomputers I cut my teeth on in the 70s...

  24. steogede
    Pint

    @Will Shaw

    >> 17 mpg.

    To be fair to them, managing to go 17 miles on a piddling little US gallon is quite an achievement.

    Mines a scotch, cause if it's in a US pint glass, it only fit a short.

  25. Garret Cotter

    Jodrell Bank

    In fact, fundamentally it *is* a radio interferometer. More "useless mediocrity." :)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Terminator

    100 targets on the screen, if one of those targets should happen to fall . . .

    Here's the advantage of being able to track 100 targets - all this data goes back to the AWACS mothership, and is re-distributed to OTHER F-22s (or other aircraft, tanks, reapers, etc.) in the area - result is a complete overview of the battle-space environment, and F-22s or other air or ground based "assets" can then be most effectively deployed to counter the individual threats. This is "network-centric" warfare. Even though *this* F-22 may not fire a single shot, the information sent from it can (will) be used to unleash a gen-you-wine sh*tstorm on the enemy du jour.

    Rule #1 - carry enough gun (check - fully armed F-22 anyone?)

    Rule #2 - don't go alone (check - formation of same + F-16s, F-18s, B-2s, etc?)

    Rule #3 - have LOTS of backup if you need it (check - and how many megatons would Sir like to order today? Delivered where?)

    Only rule for the bad guys to remember - "don't tug on Superman's cape"

  27. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    But the salient point is: They've crammed the car full of gear from an F22 and it *still* doesn't fly!

    Useless bastards.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    100 targets

    You might want to distinguish commercial air traffic from military, as well as friendlies from the enemy. If you happened to be intercepting an incoming air attack, you probably would not want to shoot down airliners arriving or departing your local international airport but you probably couldn't wait until all of them are grounded.

    You may want to detect more enemies than you have weaponry with which to engage because:

    - you might be providing live intelligence back to HQ;

    - you might be providing targetting information for other aircraft, ships or ground-based weaponry;

    - some threats can be dealt with using countermeasures;

    - you might need to know when it is time to run for home.

  29. Daniel Wilkie
    Flame

    Just a thought

    And I'm sure I'm missing something obvious here... But why does a car NEED a synthetic aperture RADAR? I've managed to successfully drive around for the last 9 years without driving into anything else, merely identifying and classifying threats with my eyes...

    I just don't see it as being a good idea, people are distracted enough when they're driving - surely getting them to rely on RADAR to warn them of what's knocking about around them is a bad thing.

    Also, RADAR, not radar - RAdio Direction And Ranging - it's an acronym not a word :p

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Cyclist threat?

    To shamelessy drag another story that seemed to provoke emotive responses, I have to ask: Does the Taurus radar identify cyclists as a threat?

  31. Gene Cash Silver badge
    FAIL

    American made crap

    This sort of total-loss-of-contact-with-reality is why the US car companies are mostly in casters-up mode, begging for bailouts from the government. I stopped "buying American" years ago.

  32. Number6

    Looking at that picture...

    I can see one way it's like my old Ford Escort - all the smoke trailing out the back!

  33. 4HiMarks
    Boffin

    Ford Motor Co.

    Ford is actually the only one of the "Big Three" US Automakers that isn't financially troubled at the moment. (This is due to the fact they went through their troubles a few years ago.) There has been a car with the Taurus name almost continuously since the the mid-80s, so it is hardly being "revived", although production was temporarily halted a couple of years ago, before another redesign from a mid-size to a full-size sedan (explaining the mileage figure, which is properly reported as 22 MPG combined city/hwy, not 17. Even the city-only figure is 18.).

    My question on the RADAR though is what effect it is going to have on RADAR detectors in cars nearby? Are they going to be rendered useless?

  34. Napoleon
    Grenade

    what for ?

    does it deserve a full article on El Reg ? (ok apart from the cool pic ...)

  35. GreenOgre
    FAIL

    and what about the youths?

    ... on the bridge with a bag full of tin foil?

    should be good for a larf!

  36. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    This article is patently untrue!!

    Now that the U.S. government owns GM, its the Buick Riviera that comes with multi-band radar and bumper mounted heat-seeking missles!!

    Sadly, you Europeans don't get this technology because GM is unloading Opel to the Canucks. Its being done to keep the technology in the U.S.

  37. James O'Brien
    Joke

    Few questions here

    1) How hard/expensive is this going to be to repair when it goes south?

    2) Wont somebody think about the cancer causing radio waves?

    3) Will this interfere with Police radar for speed enforcement?

    4) Will I be able to fry eggs if I point the car at the fridge?

  38. Paul RND*1000
    Grenade

    Threat analysis

    "we've added a radar that looks at targets and accesses a target as a threat or a non-threat"

    If they can hook that thing up to a rack of Hellfires, I'll be all over it. No more problem with slow-driving hicks who can't read the speed limit signs because they flunked kindergarten.

  39. Hugh McIntyre

    @ people asking "why"

    Actually, several car companies including not from the USA have been adding radars for various reasons recently:

    - Mercedes and BMW, etc. with adaptive cruise control and reverse detection.

    - This Ford, the Prius (I think), and some other Japanese car on Top Gear a year or two ago with automatic parking.

    - Adaptive cruise control and/or "rear end crash avoidance" forward radar such as this article probably involves. See Volvo, Merc/BMW, etc.

    - The "reverse distance detection" is useful for example when backing into a parallel parking spot and wanting to know how far you can safely reverse.

    So the Ford system is not necessarily unique or a bad idea (contrary to Gene Cash's comment).

    One big problem with the first "adaptive cruise" systems above though is that they only looked forwards, so they'd look in the next lane whenever you go round a corner. Hopefully all of this array-based radar will make the system more useful than the first generation "no corner" versions.

  40. Jon Lawrence
    Alert

    Why ??

    Any car of the future is going to have to be able to 'see' what is going on in order to make decisions - htf else is it going to see.

  41. Roger Garner

    Nothing new...

    I do believe you've been able to buy a Jaguar with radar on the wing mirrors for a year or two now. The idea is that the radar looks back into your blind spot and alerts you when something is there.

    To be honest, nothing wrong with turning your head and leaning forward like everyone else but when thats downgraded to just looking at the wing mirror (check mirror... nothing... oh the light is on, some bastard is sitting in my blind spot) its a little easier... until it fails of course.

  42. Robert Hill
    Thumb Up

    @Gene Cash

    You, sir, are TOTALLY on-target...

    Too much flash, not enough concentration on things that actually matter, like efficient petrol (gasoline) engines, low-particulate diesel engines, and upgraded interiors and reliability.

    Having SAID all that, frankly Ford is probably the best of the US manufacturers for providing well-driving cars, as they lift so much from their EU designs. If you have to buy a family sedan, and you want it American, then the Taurus is a damned good car, much like the Mondeo is in the UK - frankly the Taurus has always been that. Boring, but for a family sedan who cares?

    There is a reason why only Ford was able to turn down government stimulus money in the US...and I am proud of them for having done so. I just wish they had kept Land Rover and Jaguar, who benefited enormously from Ford's investment and production knowledge...

  43. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Dumb and Dumber ..alive and well in Dearborn?

    "There is a reason why only Ford was able to turn down government stimulus money in the US...and I am proud of them for having done so." ...... By Robert Hill Posted Tuesday 15th September 2009 20:12 GMT

    If the money is freely given with no strings attached other than to spend it wisely, then is there a bigger fool than they looking a gift horse in the mouth ...... for just imagine what Ford would have been able to energise themselves independently with dollar confetti?

  44. not.known@this.address Bronze badge
    Grenade

    "Enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy"(*)

    On the road, EVERY other object is a threat - it's just that some have a greater threat value than others.

    "Threats" in an Urban travel enviroment would include stupid 13-yr-old mom about to push Baby Chav's stroller into the road, Lycra-clad Cycling Tart trying to hit the speed of sound in the town center, Doddery Old Couple off to collect their pension (oops, not any more! - didn't the UK equivalent of the IRS insist it all go through the banks to prevent 'money laundering'? Or was that just to make it easier for the gubmint to cream more off the top?), iPod-wearing teen crossing the road without thinking about the gasoline-powered death machines hurtling by inches off her shoulder and petrolhead trying to launch his rocket-powered rollerskate off the nearest road hump.

    "Threats" in a non-Urban travel environment include Doddery Old Couple in Decrepit Old Volvo doing just over half the speed limit in the middle lane, Company Rep in his German Bulgemobile trying to shout into his phone over the sound of his electric razor while steering with his knees and balancing his Starbucks on top of his satnav, manic trucker short on sleep and close to delivery time, six-legged demi-centaurs in designer jeans, mass-produced 'imitation real fake leather' dude boots and silly hats hiding behind hedges waiting for the only car currently moving in three counties to come along before they start to trot down the middle of the blacktop (despite the nice wide grass strip not 5 foot away), baccy-chewin' Good Ol' Boys who own the road just 'cos they've "been drivin' since before that gol-durned peanut farmer got in the big house (sonny)", and The Man doing 53 on the freeway and watching everyone's front ends dip like crazy as they realise they've got a county mounty on their front porch...

    Presumably the Taurus will have some sort of threat assessment routine built in so it can discriminate between some poor sap keeping to his own lane or the occasional pede who remembers that ROADS are for CARS, SIDEWALKS are for PEOPLE, and anything that looks like it might be heading for an attempted co-location in the physical space-time continuum...

    I believe Volvo UK are currently running an ad where some great big frack-off 4x4 narrowly misses colliding with a stationary car because some eejit elephant just happens to squirt water all over the windshield as the tank, sorry *car* is approaching a traffic queue at a stop signal, and all due to it's wonderful inbuilt safety features... wonder what that particular safety feature might be... like a short-range RADAR with command authority over the DECU and ABS, perhaps?. (Digital Engine Control Unit, Automatic Braking System). Not sure why they only seem to fit it to the top of the range road-going tank though, surely if they are really *that* concerned about *all* their customers it should be standard fit on all vehicles at no extra cost, nyet?

    (*) Learned in Evil Overlord 101.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is no SAR on the CAR!

    The SAR is not on the car, don't get excited. The phased array radar is on the car and the aircraft needs SAR to function in it's desired theatre. Okay?

    And why get all excited about a radar on a car? It's been on for years to help men reverse because they've been lying for so long about what 6 inches really looks like.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    17mpg

    in new money would be:

    4.49092489 miles per litre

    or

    20.4161572 miles per imperial gallon

    (with thanks to Google Calculator)

  47. PerfectBlue

    Maybe?

    Do you get to pick which threats your system picks out?

    I think that it should have a pre-set to automatically scan for motorists under 25 and over 65, people driving "pimped out" cars, and anybody whose stereo play music that goes BOOM BOOM BOOM all the time.

    Maybe it could even direct a real F-22 Raptor towards them. Or at least a squadron of Apache.

    Oh, and rednecks. A radar that can detect rednecks would be great. Especially if it can warn you while you are doing grocery shopping so that you don't get stuck next to them in the line.

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