Tech Trivia : Did You Know? This Week in History …

19th July 2023

July 1940 : “We Saw Them Coming”….

In July 1940, a Bristol Blenheim like this one was the first aircraft to successfully use radar to detect enemy aircraft, proving that radar could help provide an effective electronic defence whilst being deployed in the air.

It’s often been said that Britain would have lost the Battle of Britain had it not been for RADAR. Yet (like many things in the business world) it’s useless without an integrated system to make the data actionable!

It’s worth visiting Bentley Priory in London where the “Dowding System” was developed and implemented. This incredible system was pioneered by Chief Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding and involved a network of radar stations located along the coast of southern and eastern England. These radar stations were equipped with early warning radar systems that detected and tracked enemy aircraft approaching from across the English Channel.

The information gathered by the radar stations was then transmitted to a centralised operations centre, known as the “Filter Room”. The Filter Room served as the nerve centre of the Dowding system. It received the radar reports, processed the information, and coordinated the air defence response. You’ll doubtless have seen films with ladies using sticks to push wooden aircraft-symbols around a room-sized map – that’s what it looked like and you can still see it – incredible stuff!

From those early days, radar has found itself in countless applications from its early military applications but just looking at technology closer to home (possibly on the way to work today), radar is used in automotive radar systems (Automotive Radar for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems – ADAS) for collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, and parking assistance.

Well over half of new cars are fitted with radar and the market for them for the next decade is growing with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) at over 9%, which is not only an interesting trend but something potentially worth investing in, if you’re so inclined.

So, the next time you’re you hear your car beeping when it’s warning you that you’re a bit ‘too close’ just think about what it would have been like for those fantastic pilots having to deal with incoming enemy aircraft in the Battle of Britain!

The next time you’re you hear your car beeping when it’s warning you that you’re a bit ‘too close’ just think about what it would have been like for those fantastic pilots having to deal with incoming enemy aircraft in the Battle of Britain!