MiG-25 Radar could kill rats?

I have heard that the MiG-25 radar emitted so much electromagnetic radiation that it would kill rats within 50 feet in front of the aircraft. Is this just an urban legend?

5 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The story I see several places says:

    "Pilots were forbidden to engage the radar on the ground, and legend held that it was powerful enough to kill rabbits near runways."

    But none of the places I found that were credible sources, so I looked further ...

    According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-...

    "Thanks to the use of vacuum tubes, the MiG-25P's original Smerch-A (Tornado, NATO reporting name 'Foxfire') radar had enormous power — about 600 kilowatts."

    I used to be the Sr. Program Manager for the P-STAR radar -- http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/7333.pdf

    It is a very small man-portable battlefield radar - with low power.

    According to the World Health Organization --


    addresses Electromagnetic fields and public health: radars and human health.

    It says: "Typical air traffic control radars can have peak powers of 100 kW or more, but average powers of a few hundred watts." -- But of course, you're not close to them in the direct beam.

    You can read more about the subject at the above link.

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  • maddy
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Mig 25 Radar

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  • 10 years ago

    It sounds like an urban legend. Radiation intensity decreases as the square of distance, and even at 50 feet it has declined enormously. Plus, prolonged exposure would be required (rather like that of putting a rat in a microwave for a few minutes, which is essentially similar to exposure to intense radar waves). And anything that would kill a rat would also kill a human being. The danger would be from diathermic heating of body tissues, but it takes a lot of power concentrated in a small area to produce significant heating, and the heating would be just as dangerous to people as it were to rats.

    Anything that could kill rats at 50 feet would be lethally dangerous to human beings in the same range. There are certainly some risks with very close-range exposure to aircraft radars (within a few feet) while they are operating, but immediate death is not among them, and the risks are very localized. Still, the manuals for some radar systems specify that they should not be operated on the ground, in part because of potential hazards to personnel.

    One common risk of exposure to very intense radiation in the range used by radars is cataracts. The lens of the eye is not well supplied with cooling from blood vessels and is more easily heated than other parts of the body, and heating can sometimes cause denaturing of proteins, which causes them (and the lens made from them) to gradually turn opaque, like the white of a fried egg. Even this is not a serious short-term hazard, though.

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  • 6 years ago

    600kW sounds impossible Its similar to power of giant London Crystal Palace tower.....

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  • 10 years ago

    Kind of elaborate, why not just the little wooden traps and cheese?

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