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1960 - U.S. fleet  have been equipped with the first seaborne electronic scanning radar capable of pinpointing simultaneously three essential target dimensions


E&MP 103.034

Radar - 3-D

December 6, 1960

3-D ANTENNA -- Towering more than 140 feet above the water on a masthead of the missile cruiser USS Galveston, antenna of new Frescan radar system simultaneously detects range, bearing and altitude of multiple aircraft at lightning speeds.

Developed and produced by Hughes Aircraft Company, the lightweight, powerful antenna is electronically stabilized, allowing it to pitch and roll with ship and eliminating heavy masthead weight of conventional radar.

Single antenna replaces two or more previously required. Sailor is posed on platform only to show comparative size of antenna.


for release 4p.m.
From: Carl Byoir & Associates, Inc.
Florence Ave. & Teale St.
Culver city, Cal.
(UPton 0-7111, exts. 2423 & 2149

03889 2

[document with details]

FROM: Carl Byoir & Associates, Inc.
300 National Press Building
STerling 3-6565

Tuesday, December 6, 1960


Modern missile-armed cruisers and destroyers of the U. S. fleet have been equipped with the first seaborne electronic scanning radar capable of pinpointing simultaneously three essential target dimensions -- range, bearing and altitude -- to retaliate against enemy airborne attack.

The U. S. Navy and Hughes Aircraft Company announced today that Frescan, a powerful, lightweight, all-weather radar, uses only a single antenna, transmitter and receiver and automatically flashes information on supersonic targets to information and control centers which fire interception Talos, Terrier or Tartar missiles.

Conventional radar systems, Navy and Hughes officials said, generally require combinations of several antennas, transmitters or receivers to provide three-dimensional target information as well as heavy, mechanical gyro-stabilizing equipment to compensate for pitch and roll of a ship at sea. Frescan does not.

C. Harper Brubaker, Hughes vice president, listed Frescan's four basic attributes:
1. Instantaneous display of three-dimensional multiple target information.

2. Electronic pitch and roll stabilization, eliminating heavy masthead weight.

3. High degree of flexibility permitting changing the volume of space covered to conform to different tactical situations.

4. Single antenna, transmitter and receiver to provide 3-D target information.

Pencil-shaped Beams

"Frescan concentrates all available power in sharp, pencil-shaped beams of energy to pinpoint targets at great distance and with extreme accuracy," Brubaker said.

He said that range and height information is obtained by electronic scanning in a vertical plane in milliseconds while rapid rotation of the antenna supplies target bearing.

Conventional radars require heavy mechanical gyre-stabilization equipment above deck to keep the antenna platform level at all times. The Frescan antenna is affixed to the masthead and allowed to roll and pitch with the ship.

Electronic stabilization assures accurate information no matter at what angle the antenna is located, according to Brubaker.

Roll and pitch signals from a ship's main gyro are supplied to a Hughes developed computer which instantly and automatically modifies the elevation beam scanning program and presents the true position of targets on the radar scopes.

High Data Rate

"Elimination of heavy mechanical stabilization equipment reduces topside weight and contributes to the ship's stability," Brubaker said. "For example, some above deck equipment is up to 20 times greater than Frescan's weight of about 2,800 pounds."

The Hughes system provides a high degree of flexibility, both in operation and application and provides desired target coverage at a maximum data rate.

The Navy and Hughes pioneered the development of 3-D radar with the company delivering the first prototype equipment to the Bureau of Ships in August, 1957. The frequency scanning technique was developed by Dr. Nicholas A. Begovich, assistant manager of the Fullerton facility, after many years of basic research.

The Frescan radar system is an example of joint service cooperation. A direct result of the Navy's pioneering effort is Frescanar, a U. S. Army 3-D electronic scanning radar. Frescanar serves as the "eyes" of Missile Monitor, a mobile air defense fire distribution system for use with a field army -- now deployed in Europe.

Ships now equipped with Frescan include the Navy's newest missile cruisers USS Galveston, Springfield and Providence, the missile destroyer-leader Dewey and others.


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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