Radar is undoubtedly one of the best-known electromagnetic wave pulse equipment in the world, as well as its smaller brother, the microwave equipment in thousands of homes that basically use the same technology for cooking.
Why are they so well known? Just a car ride on any highway there will be mobile radars using the doppler principle to record and fine the fastest.
One of the principles of war, already recorded by Chinese General Sun Tzu, is that of surprise. Thus, to prevent the enemy from taking over the surprise, over the centuries means have been developed to know the movement of troops, equipment and logistics chains. When efficient means were not available, observation, spy infiltration, and rudimentary signaling and tracking mechanisms were used. With the advent of aviation, the surprise factor could now be combined with the speed and use of airspace for the movement of war vectors. Thus, it became essential to obtain a means of detecting the approach of aircraft, initially with the use of observers, until the invention of powerful audio equipment to literally hear the approach of engines in the air.
Although there is already a theoretical basis for the use of electromagnetic waves for object detection, as early as the 1920s, it was only in the following decade, with the movement towards a new world war, that the United Kingdom came to invest in the development of aircraft detection systems using electromagnetic waves. After all, England is an island, and easily reachable by any kind of aircraft.
The initial idea was that detection systems on the English coast could talk to each other and form an information network that would allow the efficient use of air interception means against German aircraft.
Similarly, maritime navigation lacked equipment that could detect aircraft as well as obstacles and other ships. Thus, the development of this system was prioritized in the sense of setting up “castles” in the air that would allow us to know where the threat came from, its size and direction.
By the end of 1939, the first systems using Radio Detection And Ranging (RADAR) were operating on the English coast and on some of its warships. At the same time, German engineers also developed their own detection as well as shooting targeting systems using Radar.
Therefore, techniques and doctrines were also developed to prevent the detection or shuffling of radar waves, with the first jamming systems using metal bands that disrupted Radar views.
Basically, Radar works by reading the reflection of electromagnetic waves emitted by a directional antenna. The detection of reflected waves and the calculation of the time between transmission and reception allows determining the location of the object.
Soon systems had to be developed that could attach to this signal the “friend or foe” warning – IFF – as well as electromagnetic pulses that could be read through the doppler phenomenon.
Operationally, the biggest problem with radar has always been the signal strength as a function of the range to be reached. Thus, the longer the range, the greater the signal strength and the higher the power consumption. Moreover, the existence of natural obstacles and the characteristics of the waves do not always give the detection system full functionality.
Thus, it was necessary to integrate the information obtained from various radar antennas so that an efficient web of detection could be established for both military and civil purposes.
Radar has thus allowed a huge evolution for civil aviation, as it allows the real-time visualization of the numerous aircraft flying in a given airspace, allowing the maintenance of safety separation between them.
Similarly, the use of radar on board aircraft or satellites allows the location and tracking of ground targets, especially after the advent of Synthetic Aperture Radar. They use the motion of the aircraft, or satellite, to “simulate” a much larger antenna than it really is. The ability of these radars to differentiate two close objects depends on the width of the emitted signal, which depends on the size of the antenna. As these antennas must be carried by an aircraft, usually these radars are small antenna and wide signal.
Radars have also been developed to change direction and frequency of use, such as the Phased-Array Radar, allowing the modification of their signature for electronic warfare purposes.
In Brazil, the first radar for the flight protection system was acquired and installed in the 1970s, within the concept of integrating flight protection equipment with air defense systems. Thus, with French funding, from 1974 the first route radars were installed, with their respective radio broadcast communication systems (something extremely rudimentary if perceived nowadays) because modern satellite communication systems were not available.
Thus, in 1976 the First Integrated Center for Air Defense and Air Traffic Control (CINDACTA 1) was inaugurated, whose area of ??responsibility was already born with 1/3 of the territory of Europe, in a Brazilian airspace defined by the quadrilateral São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro. January, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia.
The security and defense coverage of the central region of the country provided by CINDACTA I would, over the years, be complemented by CINDACTA II in Curitiba, CINDACTA III in Recife, and CINDACTA IV in Manaus – the last to enter. in operation as early as the 2000s. Today, Brazil is the country with the best radar coverage in all of South America. Bolivia and Paraguay have the most precarious protection. The coverage of the Uruguayan territory also lacks its own surveillance stations, but the operation of Brazilian and Argentine radars allows the visualization of what happens in part of the Uruguayan airspace.
Today, the four CINDACTA reports to the Department of Airspace Control (DECEA), a unit with permanent physical facilities in hundreds of municipalities in all 27 Brazilian federative units. In addition to the four integrated centers, the DECEA structure involves the São Paulo Regional Flight Protection Service (SRPV-SP), five Area Control Centers (ACC), 47 Approach Controls (APP), 59 Aircraft Control Towers. Aerodrome (TWR) and 79 Airspace Control Detachments (DTCEA), in addition to more than 90 Aeronautical Telecommunication Stations and various support divisions across the country.
The project for the protection of the Amazonian natural resources, conceived in the 1980s, resulted in the Integrated Amazon Surveillance System – SIVAM – whose development allowed Brazil to have early warning radar aircraft, as well as air vectors specially designed for interception. and shooting down aircraft flying below the signal of route radars, especially small aircraft loaded with drugs, weapons and other illegal materials.
With regard to the ground force, the Army, there are Air Patrol radars with a range of up to 300 km, acquisition radars of up to 100 km range, anti-artillery surface-to-air missile shooting and pursuit radar. projectiles for the location of artillery pieces with a range of up to 10 km, and ground surveillance radars to detect moving targets and high-precision shooting regulation.
Brazil has been at the forefront of developing short-range infantry radars, with a range of 5 kilometers and extreme ease of transport and operation, as well as radars to be carried on mobile equipment such as tanks.
Radars are a fundamental piece of weather today. Weather radar networks are spread over a wide area in various countries of the world. They have long range and today are extremely important for monitoring the atmosphere, thus facilitating activities such as agriculture, aeronautics, among others. They accurately detect the movements of air masses, giving meteorologists subsidies to prevent everything from frost, windstorms and hailstorms to storms.
Finally, it is worth noting that if it were not for Radar, the routine of life we know today would not be possible, either in the field of logistical security or in sensitive and sensitive defense issues.