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Building 821: Radar Test Building
Building 821: Radar Test Building

Built in 1947-48 as the first radar test facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Building 821 has been used predominately for antenna and radar cross section studies throughout its existence.

In the early 1950s, Bill Bahret, regarded by some as the "father of radar camouflage," designed and built the Air Force's first anechoic chamber for analyzing radar echo. The chamber stood in the middle of the floor, and radar absorption cones covered most of the interior walls. Although Bahret and his engineers knew that an objects shape and material had something to do with what showed up on radar, they did not set out to do "stealth" research. In fact, in those early days of radar cross section experimentation, the goal was simply to learn how radar interacted with bodies.

By the mid-1950s, the team in Building 821 was beginning to understand the relationship between radar and objects, and the different variables involved; only then did they start to wonder if they could actively reduce a model's radar "signature." Beginning in the late 1950s, a great deal of the early signature control technology was developed by the Propagation Group (precursor to the Radar Test
While performing searches for various engineering topics, it is often difficult to locate the desired material. That is because many documents are either buried deep within the results, or they are never indexed by the search engines in the first place. Government websites are good sources of information, but it typically takes doing multiple hit-and-miss searches within the website's database to find information. As time permits, I have been re-publishing documents that I find so that the search engines will index them.

Unless otherwise marked, U.S. government documents may be freely copied so long as the content is not altered from the original. Warning: Some of these documents have been processed with optical character recognition (OCR) software and might contain errors.

Building 821: Radar Test Building

Development of a Radar/SAR Assimilation System for
    Internal Wave Prediction
Early U.S. Navy Experimental Radars

Improved Doppler Radar/Satellite Data Assimilation

• Learning Morse Code Characters: A Replication of
   the Keller Method

Meteorological Studies with the Phased Array Weather
    Radar and Data Assimilation Using the Ensemble
    Kalman Filter

Pearl Harbor Revisited: U.S. Navy Communications
    Intelligence, 1924-1941

Radar Cross-Section Observations of the Echo I
    Communications Satellite

Radio and Radar World War I & World War II,
    U.S. Army Signal Corps

What Is Radar?

Laboratory). This also included signature enhancement technology for such applications as decoys. Moreover, the Laboratory did not work on aircraft exclusively, but experimented on everything from missiles to satellites, and assisted the Army and Navy in designing their vehicles. As a corollary to their work, the Laboratory also developed also developed innovative electronic equipment and instruments, despite the restrictions of working with crude technology. By the 1960s, Building 821 had become a mecca for "low observables" technology, attracting many scientists involved in stealth technology.

Building 821 continued to function as the Radar Test Building until 1990. However, for several years before, concerns had been growing which led to the eventual demise of Building 821's role as a radar facility: first, the Wright Aeronautical Laboratories wished to consolidate their operations (Avionics now resides in Buildings 620 and 22, and Signature Technology in Building 254); second, the amount of maintenance needed to sustain the aging building for radar testing was escalating (Building 821 has a history of maintenance problems, including a perpetually leaky roof, poor heating, and faulty alarm systems); moreover, Building 821's location just outside the main confines of the base poses security problems, especially for a facility doing highly classified research. In 1991, Logistics Supply took over Building 821 to use for shipping, receiving, and storage.

RF Cafe - Building 821 - Radar Building at Wright Patterson, 1    RF Cafe - Building 821 - Radar Building at Wright Patterson, 2

RF Cafe - Building 821 - Radar Building at Wright Patterson, 3    RF Cafe - Building 821 - Radar Building at Wright Patterson, 5

RF Cafe - Building 821 - Radar Building at Wright Patterson, 7           RF Cafe - Building 821 - Radar Building at Wright Patterson, 8

See the original Building 821: Radar Test Building document here.

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