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A beam rider system is a type of guidance system used in guided missiles and rockets to maintain and return to a course by tracking a radio or radar beam emitted from a ground station or a guiding aircraft. Here’s how a beam rider system typically works:

Key Points:

  1. Guidance Principle:
  • Radio Beam: The beam rider missile receives guidance from a radio or radar beam transmitted from a ground-based station or an aircraft.
  • Tracking: The missile’s onboard guidance system continuously tracks the radio beam’s position relative to the missile’s current trajectory.
  1. Course Correction:
  • Maximize Signal: The missile is programmed to steer itself to maximize reception of the radio beam signal. This typically involves adjusting its flight path so that it remains centered on the beam.
  • Automatic Adjustments: The guidance system makes automatic adjustments to the missile’s control surfaces or thrust vectoring system to keep it on course.
  1. Advantages:
  • Accuracy: Beam rider systems can provide high accuracy because they continuously receive guidance information directly from the emitting source.
  • Resistance to Countermeasures: They can be more resistant to electronic countermeasures compared to systems relying solely on onboard sensors or GPS.
  1. Applications:
  • Anti-Aircraft Missiles: Beam rider systems are commonly used in anti-aircraft missiles where accuracy and responsiveness are crucial to intercept fast-moving aerial targets.
  • Surface-to-Surface Missiles: They can also be used in surface-to-surface missiles for precision targeting of ground-based or naval targets.
  1. Limitations:
  • Line-of-Sight Requirement: The effectiveness of beam rider systems depends on maintaining a clear line of sight between the missile and the guiding beam source.
  • Vulnerability to Jamming: Although generally more resistant than other guidance systems, beam rider systems can still be susceptible to jamming or interference of the guiding signal.


  • Modern Advancements: In modern applications, beam rider systems may incorporate advanced signal processing and adaptive algorithms to enhance their accuracy and resistance to countermeasures.

In summary, a beam rider system is a guidance system used in missiles and rockets that navigates by maintaining and returning to a course defined by tracking a radio or radar beam emitted from a ground station or guiding aircraft, ensuring precise targeting and interception capabilities.

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