Radar: Who Invented, Types, Applications

Like many technologies, radar is hard to attribute to a specific person. The radar is credited to its creator, Robert Watson-Watt. However, between 1922 and 1937, Albert H. Taylor and Leo C. Young at the U.S. Naval Aircraft Radio Laboratory also made a significant contribution to the advancement of radar. In 1937, they created the CXAM radar, a useful shipboard radar.

It is an electromagnetic sensor that can detect, locate, track, and identify numerous types of things at a great distance. It works by sending electromagnetic radiation in the direction of what is called targets and then listening for the echoes that come back.

The targets may be automobiles, astronomical bodies, ships, planes, boats, spaceships, birds, insects, rain, and even moving cars. Radar can occasionally determine the presence, location, and velocity of such objects in addition to their size and shape.

The capacity of radar is to identify distant objects in bad weather and precisely calculate their range or distance, setting it apart from optical and infrared sensing technologies.

Due to military requirements, radar developed quickly in the 1930s and 1940s. The armed forces, where many technology advancements are rooted, continue to use it extensively.

Radar has also discovered various crucial civilian applications, including air traffic management, weather monitoring, environmental remote sensing, aircraft and ship navigation, speed measurement for commercial and law enforcement purposes, space surveillance, and planetary observation.

The Basics of Radar

Typically, radar involves an antenna emitting a pinpoint of electromagnetic radiation into space (see the figure). The focused antenna beam scans the targeted area. When the beam irradiates a target, some of the energy is intercepted and reflected toward the radar system.

A single antenna is frequently utilized on a time-shared basis for transmitting and receiving because most radar systems do not transmit and receive simultaneously.


Since the invention of radar, the cathode-ray tube (CRT) has been the chosen technology for information display, despite having several drawbacks.

However, because of the demands of computers and television, flat-panel displays have undergone significant advancements.

Compared to CRTs, flat-panel displays are smaller and use less energy, but they also have several drawbacks. Flat-panel displays have been utilized by radar, which has increased their significance as a display.

An operator in the early days of radar used the raw data that was displayed to determine whether a target was present. However, modern radars give the operator processed information.

Without the need for an operator, the receiver makes detections that are subsequently displayed to the user on display.

Performance-Related Variables for Radar

The following criteria can be used to assess a radar system’s performance:

The maximum range at which a target of a given size can be seen,

The accuracy of its measurement of target location in range and angle,

The ability to distinguish one target from another,

The ability to detect the desired target echo when it is obscured by large clutter echoes, unintentional interference from other “friendly” transmitters, or intentional radiation from hostile jamming (if a military radar), and

The ability to identify the type of target. In this section, some of the key variables that influence performance are covered.

Radar is an “active” sensing technology since it contains a transmitter that it uses as its light source to find targets. Radar systems differ in size from those tiny enough to fit in the palm of your hand to those so massive that they would fill several football fields in terms of their circuitry and other hardware, depending on the frequency being used.

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