A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE USE OF MARINE RADAR

James D. Luse

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: In the four decades since the first microwave radar with a plan-position-indicator was installed in U.S.S. Semmes in the spring of 1941, marine radar has been praised as boon to reduced visibility navigation, cursed with the phrase “radar-assisted-collisions”, and now required for installation on most seagoing vessels. This paper presents a personalized perspective of how radar has been used by mariners since the first radars started appearing in quantity in the U.S. and British fleets in 1942. In World War II, at night when all ships were darkened, radar was the military vessel’s primary sensor for detection of surface targets, station keeping information, for intercepting targets, for keeping merchant ship convoys in formation and for entering and leaving port in poor visibility. A generation of watch officers developed competence in the use of marine radar. After the war, merchant ships were equipped with radar with mixed results. A new generation of watch standers had to learn to use radar from experience. The development over the years of what is required to effectively use radar to maneuver and navigate a ship is explored. Examples of the use of radar for navigation and maneuvering are described. Development of computer based aids is briefly discussed.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 28, Number 3
Pages: 199 - 205
Cite this article: Luse, James D., "A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE USE OF MARINE RADAR", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 28, No. 3, Fall 1981, pp. 199-205.
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