Early work on radar began during World War II. After the war, the Microwave Fusing Group of DREL became involved in radar research. The Microwave Fusing Group was formed in 1951 to design and develop a microwave proximity fuse for the Velvet-Glove missile. This was an air-to-air missile that was being developed at Canadian Armaments Research and Development Establishment (CARDE). The function of the microwave fusing system, located on the missile, was to detonate the missile when it was within a certain distance of its target, as determined by microwave measurements. By 1955, the group had developed successfully the fuse technology and transferred it to Canadian Westinghouse. They built 64 microwave fuses which were shown to operate satisfactorily in trials in Picton, Ontario. The fuse design was then handed over to CARDE, who had overall responsibility for the Velvet-Glove project.
The Microwave Fusing Group then became the Radio Warfare Section, which reflected the shift in focus to the pressing Electronic Counter Counter Measures (ECCM) problems of the day. With this new mandate, the group moved to a new location in 1955: DRTE's Shirleys Bay site. The rest of the Electronics Laboratory was not moved until 1961.
Canadian Electronic Counter Counter Measures activities involved the ECCM Section of DRTE and Electrical Engineering Divisions of NRC. From 1955 to 1963, the Radio Warfare Section carried out a variety of Electronic Counter Counter Measures related activities. By 1963, the work in ECCM was winding down. In that year, the Radio Warfare Section was reassigned to the Communications Laboratory. Over the next few years, the Section went through a series of name changes, until it was finally called Radar Section. From 1963 to 1969, the Section addressed a number of diverse radar and signal-processing problems. Art Poirier and Darrell Barnes designed and built a compact microwave-detection receiver. Keith Lacey, Barry Gordon, Alan Sewards and Gerry Venier worked on ideas to automate Electronic Support Measures (ESM) processing. During this period, the Radar Section provided technical advice to DND on many problems encountered with their existing radar systems, and also evaluated various radar systems proposed for future procurement.
In 1969, with the transfer of DRTE to CRC, Radar research continued, although there was no requirement for such research in DOC. F.T. Davies, the chief superintendent of DRTE, had insisted that DRTE be transferred as a whole, fearing that fragmentation would destroy the research establishment that he had supervised and nurtured for so many years. In actual fact, the Radar Section was part of DOC, but largely supported by DND. At the same time, the Radar Section expanded to incorporate the Basic Circuits Group from the Electronics Laboratory. One group, led by Alan Sewards, continued work on ESM for the navy, embarking on a collaborative project with the U.K. In 1973, this work was eventually completed and handed over to the Electronic Warfare Section at DREO (Defence Research Establishment Ottawa). Another group, under Bill Hindson, concentrated on problems related to airborne radar.
In 1974, the Radar Section was large enough to be split off from the Communications Laboratory, and became the Radar Research Laboratory (RRL), with Frank Smith as its first Director. There were two sections: the Surface Radar Section, led by David Mabey and the Airborne Radar Section, led by Don Page. In the same year, the Minister of National Defence announced RRL would be moving to Winnipeg. This proposed move led to a high turnover of personnel. In May 1988, the RRL was turned back over to DREO.
|Leader of Microwave Fusing Group||Irvine Paghis|
|Heads of the Radio Warfare Section DRTE: 1951-1969||Roy Dohoo
|Heads of the Radar Section
|Directors of Radar Research
|Frank Smith (74-78)
Alf Gilchrist (78-79)
David Mabey (79-81, acting)
David Mabey (81-88)
Norman, Jim and Crow, Rita, eds. 50th Anniversary Edition of the History for Defence Research Establishment Ottawa 1941-1991. Ottawa; DREO, March 1992.