How enemy Aircrafts and other objects were detected before the discovery of radar?

The acronym for RADAR is –Radar Detection and Ranging. Basically it transmits radio wave signals/frequency through an antenna directed in a particular path and receives information after detecting the object.

This technology was developed by a German physicist and later credited to ‘Christian Hulsmeyer’ for this invention. “Heinrich Hertz” another physicist also proved the existence of electromagnetic waves.

Radar is an electronic device that transmits electromagnetic pulse towards the object in order to receive a reflection of the signal from the distant object after touching it, which helps in detecting the range of that object.

It is similar to a Sonar, which is used in ships to measure the depth of the seabed, which has the same concept that allows the sound to echo back and receive information after touching the seabed.

In the early days when there were no radar invented or developed militant’s used acoustic radar to detect enemy Warcraft.

Source: Wikipedia

As the radar was not invented they had to rely on the primitive methods to detect aircraft and monitoring its own forces. These tubes like designed radar called ‘War Tubas’ were used by the Japanese military during world war. As the days passed by modernization took place, a new invention of the Radar system was invented.

 Radar’s were used to measure the angle or velocity of that particular object. It has many uses not only to detect aircraft but also used in detecting motor vehicles, laser-guided missiles spacecraft, and weather information. It is one of the most advanced technology to detect any distant object from Earth.

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There are secondary radar system situated in aircraft sends out important information shared with ATC (Air Traffic Controller) such as the flight height level from ground etc.

There are many varieties of the Radar which depends upon the functions and purpose. Few most commonly used Radar are listed below most-

  1. Navigational Radar: Navigation Radar is same as the search Radar, as they are equipped with a device that transmits shorter wavelength which are capable of detecting any unknown object and reflecting object/stone from earth giving out more information about it. These are mostly used by Marine and ships to avoid collision against seabed and other purposes.
  2. Mapping Radar: Mapping Radar is used to detect the Geographical region on a large scale and remote sensing application. But these are limited to relatively static objects. Using these radar system we can detect humans with their reflective characteristic nature which is more diverse against the one found in construction materials.
  3. Monopulse Radar: This name of the device was derived by the ability to extract the range and direction from the single signal pulse. It uses additional encoding of the radio signal in order to receive accurate information. Since the late 1970’s it altered the principle of Monopulse Radar to suit PSR and SSR system which is a common operation worldwide nowadays. 
  4. Doppler Radar:  A Doppler Radar is mainly used to measure the speed and velocity of the object that drops precipitation. Such activity of the device can be called as Doppler effects, which can be used to determine the weather in the atmosphere horizontally or moving away from the radar. This radar was used by NWS which is also called WSR-88D-(Weather Surveillance Radar) invented in late 1988. It does its job by bouncing off a microwave signal to a desired location/target and finding how the object’s motion has adapted the frequency which is emitted from the radar in order to return the signal back from it.
  5. Passive Radar: Passive Radar is renowned for its anti-stealth technology. It is a radar that detects the object by processing the reflection. These systems exploit the existing radio signals such as TV, FM, and cellular networks in order to detect the potential presence of the flying objects.
  6.  Continuous Wave Radar: A Continuous Wave Radar is a system that transmits continuous wave to a desired location/target waiting for the object to reflect back the waves with information. This system receives the same echo signal or same frequency which was transmitted from the system. CWR is mostly used by military applications in order to measure the range rate.  
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