Active sensors output pulses of energy to illuminate a target and measure the reflection.
- Electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) sensors can cover the entire electromagnetic spectrum.
Active sensors are an effective means of locating a target and providing sufficient data for threat profiling to be performed.
However, active scanning has the drawback of advertising the location of own ship and requiring the output of detectable energy. For this reason, sprint missiles are often launched based on passive sensor data and use their own active sensors to acquire the target.