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Cold War Radar

What is Radar?

Radar, which stands for Radio Detection and Ranging, is a technology which uses radio waves to locate objects, such as planes in the sky.  These radio waves, which move at the speed of light, bounce off an object, creating an echo.  These echoes appear as “blips” on a radar screen, reflecting the position of the object. 

Radar was first discovered in England in 1935 where it was originally called Radio Direction Finding.  By the mid-1930s Germany's military and power were expanding and England was afraid of what would happen if they found themselves in another war.  They were especially worried about being attacked by air.

The 1930s thus saw England trying to find a way around this possible attack.  One of the avenues they pursued was the creation of a death ray.  The English government offered 1000 pounds to whoever could create one that worked from 100 yards away or further.

The father of radar was considered to be Robert Watson-Watt who, along with his assistant Arnold Wilkins, had originally set out on this task.  Although they decided a death ray was not possible, this led to their discovery of radar.