Successful Stimson Course signals a growing interest in radar technology

13 Jul 2015 - 12:00


Group photo at SlangkopGroup hike to Slangkop Radar Station in 2014, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Radar in South Africa

After celebrating the 75th anniversary of Radar in South Africa in 2014 (see blogpost), the Radar Masters Programme of the University of Cape Town (UCT) organised another successful course on this topic.

Professor Hugh D. Griffiths from University College London (UCL) presented a one-week intensive lecture based on George W. Stimson’s Introduction to Airborne Radar at the CSIR campus in Brummeria, Pretoria (see blogpost).

The course material was drawn from the classic radar text originally written by Stimson in 1983. The leading engineer and educator, Stimson, composed the quintessential textbook that would go on to provide masterful tuition in radar and Electronic Warfare to thousands of radar engineers throughout the world.

In 2014, the internationally renowned radar and electronic warfare experts Prof Hugh D. Griffiths, Prof Christopher J. Baker and David Adamy fully revised and updated the Stimson book and launched the third edition.

In June of this year, UCT’s Radar Masters Course brought lead editor Hugh Griffiths to South Africa to teach the material of the third edition.

The course provided details on the essential theory of radar and electronic warfare as well as on specialist radar topics such as clutter and imaging. Furthermore, updated material and state of the art expertise relevant to modern systems was presented. Course participants were radar and electronic warfare engineers, both early-career researchers and experienced senior experts.

The participants lavishly praised the course as well as the lecturer, and each received a copy of the new third edition.

Francois Anderson of the CSIR and Hugh Griffiths of UCL
Francois Anderson hands over a carved wooden rhino to Prof Hugh Griffiths

A wooden rhino as a gift for the lecturer to symbolise the use of radar in anti-poaching of rhinos (from left Hugh Griffiths, Francois Anderson, Daniel O’Hagan)

Preliminary estimates allowed for approximately thirty attendees and thus thirty copies of the book were duly dispatched by the IET in the UK destined for Pretoria. However, soon after registration had opened, it became apparent that we had underestimated interest – so much so that a further batch of 20 books had to be hastily shipped by the IET to reach South Africa on time for the course.

As interest grew, the course convenor ultimately had to cap the number at 50, which was the venue capacity.

It is remarkably satisfying to discover that interest in radar is approaching a zenith. Requests are already being made for a re-run of the course in 2016!

Acknowledgements must certainly go to the CSIR, and especially to André le Roux, for facilitating and supporting the course with so many of their staff and assisting with the logistics. Without their backing, we could not have had such a good outcome.

Thanks are also due to the South African radar community, particularly Armscor and Denel, for supporting and attending the course.

Article by Prof Daniel O’Hagan

(The version of the article titled “Switching On”, which was published in the Engineering News of 10-16 July 2015, can be downloaded via the PDF link above.)

Download PDF of published article