term "super-radar" would be sort of meaningless these days since just
about everything is "super" anymore, especially with regard to military,
space, or aerospace systems. Lately, when I hear the term "super-something,"
I think of a really funny radio commercial with a meeting of super-geniuses.
I don't recall the exact subjects, but the chairman asks his members
for items to add to their agenda of things to do. Someone pipes up with
an idea to solve world hunger, then another suggests they design a nuclear
fusion generator to power the world with clean energy, etc. Enthusiasm
exudes from the empaneled super geniuses. Finally, someone suggests
that they do whatever it is the commercial is trying to sell (I don't
remember what it is), upon which silence falls over the room and an
incredulous person says, "We're super geniuses, but we're not super
super geniuses." Then, of course, the commercial goes on to explain
that ABC Company has a solution to the problem and that you need to
buy it. I get a good chuckle out of it when it comes on.
July 1957 Radio & TV News
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early
electronics. See articles from
Radio & Television News, published 1919-1959. All copyrights hereby
Super-Radars for Missile Ship
radar now in active service with the fleet for guidance of its deadly
Long-secret class of super-radars, now
in service with the fleet for guidance of its Terrier missiles, was
revealed recently by the Navy.
Subject of speculation since
first displayed aboard the guided missile cruiser "USS Canberra," massive,
turret-like antennas for the new radars have radically changed the contours
of the nation's fighting ships. Although the radar antennas, which resemble
gigantic searchlights, attracted considerable attention during President
Eisenhower's recent trip on the Terrier-equipped "Canberra," the structures
were identified only recently. Only limited, general information regarding
AN/SPQ-5 radars has been released.
Developed for the Navy
by Sperry Gyroscope Company, of Great Neck, N. Y., the long-range, high-altitude
missile guidance radar systems came into fleet use only after years
of successful tests.
Rear Admiral F. S. Withington, chief of
Navy's Bureau of Ordnance, said that the new super-radars were a part
of the Navy's program directed toward providing the fleet with highly
reliable missiles to combat supersonic jet aircraft. "Our new radar
systems," he said, "are giving exceptionally high performance for tenacious,
stable guidance of supersonic missiles, whether fired singly or in salvoes
at individual or multiple enemy attackers." He confirmed that the two
SPQ-5 systems aboard the "Canberra" combine many automatic radar functions
in each unit. Either system can control the missiles from a single launcher
or battery, which fires the Terrier missile, or both radars can track
different target groups simultaneously.
The SPQ-5 radar systems
include flexible modes of scanning the air space many miles beyond the
horizon, providing the advantage of early warning. Individual targets
can be selected from close-flying groups and tracked at great distances
while the missiles are launched and guided with "extreme accuracy."
Concurrently, Sperry announced that a new manufacturing facility
at Charlottesville, Virginia, The Sperry Piedmont Company, is producing
the super-radars for the Navy. Completed in October, 1956, the new $2
million plant includes special facilities to accommodate the massive
radar antenna "barbettes" used aboard ship.
cruisers, the "USS Boston" and the "USS Canberra," have been converted
to Terrier-equipped missile ships and have joined the fleet. The "USS
Topeka," the "Providence," and the "Springfield" now are being converted
to carry the missile. The photo at top right is a blown-up view of one
of the radar turrets.
Posted January 30, 2014