The history of radar will show that it began in 1904. German engineer Christian Hulsmeyer created an apparatus capable of detecting an object’s presence some distance away. However, no single scientist invented the modern radar; scientists from several nations worked on it, especially during the 1930s and 40s.
Pioneers in Radar Research
Hulsmeyer received a patent for his invention in 1904. However it was Nikola Tesla who discovered that frequency could be used to detect the presence of vehicles as well as their course.
The succeeding years saw American and European scientists develop various radar devices. Coming on the heels of World War I, nations began to realize how important it could be for warfare.
One of the pioneers in the history of radar development was the Frenchman Emile Girardeau in 1934. He got a patent for his work. In 1935 it was put in the Normandie liner. Also that year, America had its first monopulse radar courtesy of Dr. Robert Page.
The Russian engineer P.K. Oschepkov invented the RAPID. It could sense the presence of a vehicle within 3 km. A similar model was produced in Hungary a year later by Zoltan Ray.
Robert Watson’s Radar System
But it was Robert Watson’s invention that showed the radar’s full potential. In 1935, Watson showed his work to the British Air Ministry. During this time, the British were more concerned about the alleged German death ray.
Watson stated that such a device was unlikely. At the same his radar impressed the British military that it became part of their defense system, the first in the history of radar.
World War II and the Cold War
World War II saw more rapid developments in radar technology. Both the British and the Germans were engaged in a race to produce larger and more sophisticated radars. However the Germans (as did the Japanese) were not able to fully harness it. It was the British that were able to utilize it more effectively.
The Cold War led to the development of more sophisticated radar systems. One of them was the Pinetree Line established by the US in the early 1950s. This was followed up by the DEW Line. This was followed by the ballistic Missile Early Warning System.
The history of radar has seen the appearance of various types of configurations and systems. These include continuous wave radar, Doppler radar, monopulse radar and Bistastic radar. Different types of radars are used for biological work and tackling the weather.
Different frequencies are also used. For coastal radar systems, the frequency range is 3 to 30 MHz. For ground breaking it is 30 to 330 MHz; the ballistic missile warning system uses 300 to 1000 MHz. For air traffic control it is 1 to 2 GHz. For missile guidance it is 8 to 12 GHz. The frequency for airport surveillance is 24 to 40 GHz.
The history of radar has been marked by rapid development and this continues to this day. Today, it is also being used in air traffic control, sensing of traffic violators and has meteorological uses as well.