Saturday Morning Radar Trivia Quiz

OK, kids, here’s the question-

What was the first operationally deployed phased array radar in the US Navy?

8 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Radar Trivia Quiz”

  1. Define “phased-array”. Are we talking a planar antenna or an electronically-steered radar?

  2. OK, now I’ll bite. The first attempt was the SPG-59 for the Typhon missile system, but it failed. The first one to go to sea (and only on CGN-9 Long Beach and CVN-65 Enterprise) was the SPG-32/SPG-33.

  3. This can be interpreted a number of ways. In the purest sense, the AN/SPG-49 utilized a lens aperture which incorporates the principle of phased arrays. SPG-49 was deployed in the early 1950. It did not provide wide angle coverage, however the antenna could form independent beams for tracking and missile guidance. If you want to see a beautiful ship (from a radar antenna perspective) look at the Albany class cruisers in full Talos regalia.

    If you want a radar with 360 coverage (albeit w four faces) I say the AN/SPS-32/33 known as SCANFAR. They were developed for the nuclear carrier Enterprise and the nuclear cruiser the Long Beach. The radars gave each ship a distinctive boxy superstructure. The radars suffered from reliability problems as they were a bit ahead of their time. The lessons learned from these radars caused the Navy to insist that the first Aegis ships have a backup 2D conventional long range air-search radar for SPY-1, namely the AN/SPS-49(V), much to the consternation of RCA, the prime contractor for Aegis at the time.

    The AN/SPY-1(V) became sufficiently reliable so as not to require a secondary long range air-search radar in the Burkes. The AN/SPQ-9 has air-search capability but it is range limited compared to SPY.

    Eventually we will see the Advanced Missile Defense Radar, AMDR (which as far as I know has yet to receive an AN designation). This will be a dual band arrangement (S and X). The S band antenna will be a phased array, but the X band antenna will be conventional, similar to SPQ-9 to save cost. I will speculate that the X band antenna will be multi-beam and probably incorporate some phased array features. It could even be bi-directional like the new SPQ-9; but there will only be one instead of four fixed faces.

  4. I think that would be the AN/SPG-59, installed on the test vessel USS Norton Sound in 1963 and tested in 1964. The project was too far ahead of its time to be technologically successful, and was terminated.

  5. The SPG-59 was actually derived from SPG-49 technology. They added a Luneberg lens and illuminated it thru a phase shifted aperture. The problem was that the Luneberg lens would heat-up and the index of refraction would change. After a while, you lost beam pointing accuracy.

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