a website collaboration between Science Service and the Smithsonian Institution

1960 - transformation on America's newest missile cruiser and destroyers with the installation of Frescan


E&MP 103.033

Radar - 3-D

December 6, 1960

ARTIST'S CONCEPTION illustrates the transformation which has taken place on America's newest missile cruiser and destroyers with the installation of Frescan, electronic scanning radar, which features electronic data stabilization.

This powerful, lightweight, all-weather radar was developed for the U. S. Navy by the Hughes Aircraft Company, Fullerton, Cal.

Upper panels illustrate conventional radar systems, which require combinations of multiple antennas, transmitters, or receivers to provide three-dimensional airborne target information (range, height, bearing).

These also need heavy, mechanical gyro-stabilizing antenna equipment to compensate for pitch and roll of a ship at sea.

Lower panels show slimmed down Hughes radar. Frescan reduces antenna weight on the masthead to less than 2,800-pounds.

Its pencil-shaped, electronically scanned beam detects targets and instantly displays pin-point target information for the missile destruction of enemy aircraft.

Only one antenna, transmitter and receiver are necessary to obtain 3-D information


Original Caption by Science Service
© Carl Byoir & Associates, Inc. - Hughs Aircraft Company

Additional Information

. . . SPS-52C was designed by Hughes, the developers of the FRESCAN (Frequency Scan) 3D radar concept. This is where a radar steers a pencil beam in elevation by varying the frequency of the transmitted RF. The antenna of a FRESCAN radar is a stack of slotted waveguides, specifically designed to take advantage of the fact that the direction of the beam out of a slotted waveguide depends on the frequency. This is known as the Squint Angle effect . . .

2 pages 45 KB requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
Courtesy:Norman Friedman and Andrew Glina

. . . A method of providing a 3-D display from the US Navy Frescan or US Army Frescanar 3-D electronic scanning radars has been developed as a private venture by Hughs Aircraft. Missile cruisers and destroyers and the Army Missile Master system already emply the radars, but operators at present watch separate plan-position and height displays . . .

1 page (highlighted) 343 KB requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
Courtesy: FLIGHT May 4, 1961, page 598

National Museum of American History


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