A tour of Reutech Radar Systems

12 Mar 2015 - 11:45

In the first week of March, Prof Piet van Genderen presented his course – an Introduction to Radar Systems – to a record number of students – over 30! In order to accommodate all the students, we had moved the teaching venue from the Seminar Room on the 6th Floor of the Menzies Building into the John Martin Room, also on the 6th Floor.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, 4 March 2015, the group of UCT students plus members of staff were invited to visit Reutech Radar Systems. The company offers innovative radar and radar-related solutions for the Defence Force, parastatals and the industrial sector.


“Reutech Radar Systems was founded in 1987 as a division of ESD, which was formed in the early 1980s through an amalgamation of Barlows Electronic Systems and Marconi South Africa. The company’s experience in radar goes back three decades with the manufacture under licence of the Selenia (now Alenia) ATCR33 systems still in use with the South African Air Force.

The company’s radar capability has broadened significantly over the past 25 years with the local development and manufacture of a wide range of search and tracking radars for the South African National Defence Force’s requirements, as well as a number of products for the industrial market.”

Our host at Reutech was the very hospitable Pieter-Jan Wolfaardt. We were given a tour of Reutech’s premises, which are situated within the Technopark, a few kilometres outside Stellenbosch, the “city of oaks”. The tour started at 14h30 with a 1-hour long presentation, given by two Reutech engineers. Several of the Reutech products were introduced, with a focus on the Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) radar systems developed within the company. As Prof van Genderen had covered this aspect of radar in his lecture that morning, a lively interaction thus arose between the hosts and the visitors.

Next, we were guided through the integration hall, where a phase array antenna had been assembled, before witnessing the deployment of an antenna of a ground station, beside the hall, in the open air. The next enticing aspect of the visit was the demonstration of the FMCW counter measure radar. Everyone could see in real time, on the screen of the radar interface unit, the trajectory of a paint ball as it was shot from a paint ball gun. Last but not least, around 17h30, we were invited for some refreshments in the Reutech pub to conclude this fruitful visit.

(With grateful thanks to Gabriel Lellouch for his report on the tour of Reutech.)

Prof Daniel O’Hagan welcomes the new students and introduces the course

Prof van Genderen presents an Introduction to Radar Systems to a large class of over thirty students

Introduction to Radar: Class Photograph 2015 on the roof of the Menzies Building