Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 146,681 pages of information and 232,152 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Decca Radar

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Sept 1953.
1959.Display Unit of River Radar Installation.
1961. 16 in true motion display console.
Feb 1962.

of Brixton Road, London and, later, New Malden, Surrey

The Decca Record Co, a British gramophone manufacturer and record producer, contributed to the British war effort during the Second World War especially with the Decca Navigator system which resulted in a number of commercial ventures after the war, in particular the Decca Navigator Co and Decca Radar companies.

1947 Edward Fennessy he developed a simple marine radar[1]

1950 Decca Radar launched its first marine radar, the 159, in 1950. (The radar was named after the number of the London bus that passed the Brixton laboratory where the radar was designed and manufactured). Fennessy became the first MD of the company.

1954 Introduction of airfield control radar, designed for use with jets, and cloud avoidance radar for use in commercial airliners[2].

The company held a position at the forefront of commercial marine radar technology, producing the first true motion radar, the first anti-collision radar and the first "Type Approved" colour radar.

1957 Racal's work on the "electric" computer had been slowed but continued development of high speed tape transports for use with computers[3].

1958 Development of Doppler radar which was integrated with Navigator and conventional radar. Sales of tape units for computers. Development of Deccafax closed circuit audio and visual communication system[4].

1961 Manufacturers of radar instruments, including a new marine radar set designed for small ships, called the "Decca 212". Moved into military and civil aviation.

1965 Plessey Co acquired the company's non-marine radar system activities.

1968 Queen's Award to Industry for Technological Innovation

1980 Racal won a battle with GEC to acquire Decca Ltd[5]. Decca Radar became Racal-Decca.

Early Racal-Decca radars had dropped the Decca name which mariners had trusted for years, but outcry from marine customers prompted its return. At this time the business was run from New Malden in Surrey, UK.

In the mid-1980s, Decca introduced the BridgeMaster series of radars, which used a rasterized colour display. The BridgeMaster II series followed, with a Motorola 68000 CPU and powerful software options such as vector traces showing the trajectories of other ships as part of the ARPA package.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, December 18, 2009
  2. The Times, 11 March 1954
  3. The Times, 3 April 1957
  4. The Times, 11 March 1958
  5. The Times, 15 February 1980