Wednesday, December 7, 2011

U.S. Federal Innovation 43: Technology That Could Have Mitigated the Attack 

A model of the radar that detected the Pearl Harbor attack
In this case, the federal innovation was the name for the technology: radio detection and ranging (RADAR). The technology itself was innovative, but not unique to a U.S. federal effort. RADAR was being worked on independently and secretly by a number of nations prior to its use by the U.S. military. On the morning of December 7, 1941, Signal Corps Radio model 270 (SCR-270), one of the first early warning RADAR systems, was operational at Opana Point, Hawaii. The system was supposed to be shut down at the time, but the two privates manning the technology decided to get in some extra training time while waiting for their ride to breakfast. At 7:02 AM, approximately one hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor,  the servicemen detected the incoming Japanese airplanes. They reported a large a "...large number of planes coming in from the north, three points east," but to no avail. The inexperienced officer on duty at Pearl Harbor assumed that the RADAR operators had detected a much smaller formation of U.S. B-17s arriving from the mainland.

Sources from Wikipedia: RadarSCR-270 Radar

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