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Radar Development in Ukraine
Felix J. Yanovsky
National Aviation University (NAU)
Abstract— Main contribution of Ukrainian scientists to radar
is analized. It is shown that radar field was seriously developed in
Ukraine since the very first works in 30s of last century up to
nowadays. Radar theory and technology in Ukraine was
developed by efforts of experts from universities, academy of
scienses, specialized research institutions, and industry.
Keywords—radar; signal processing; antennas; history of
radar; radar developments
Maxwell theory, experiments by H. Hertz, wireless
communications over Baltic Sea by A.S. Popov, foresight
articles and lectures by N. Tesla, G. Marconi wireless devices
and some other achievements can be considered as the
forerunners of the radar. But the first working device that
directly implemented the principle of active monostatic radar
was built by Christian Huelsmeyer to identify ships at a
distance. It was patented in 1904 in Germany and Holland and
named 'telemobiloscope'. The Huelsmeyer’s invention had no
commercial success then, and it was pretty quickly forgotten.
The creation of modern radar was gradually prepared by
the general level of science & technology and the needs of
society. Only in the thirties of XX century, the technical and
economic, as well as social and military conditions appeared
for the development of practical means of radar. Almost
simultaneously and independently researches on the creation
of radar devices were started at least in Great Britain, USA,
Germany, Italy, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, and
the Soviet Union (USSR).
Ukraine was one of the most technically advanced
republics of the USSR. It even had some attributes of
independency like its own constitution and the formal right to
secession, which, of course, was impossible to implement in
practice. Ukraine was also a member of the UN since the
founding of this organization. However, before the collapse of
the USSR in 1991, Ukrainian scientists were involved in the
overall development of science and technology of the USSR.
Many immigrants from the Ukraine worked on development
of modern electronic technology in different organizations in
Moscow, Leningrad (Saint-Petersburg) and other Russian
scientific centers. However, in this paper we consider
exclusively those achievements that have been received by
scientists, experts and organizations that were located only
directly on the territory of Ukraine.
Despite the fact that the content of this article was
discussed with many colleagues, this work does not pretend to
be a full and complete display of the history and achievements
of the radar in Ukraine. Moreover, radar , being a synthetic
field of science and technology, has incorporated advances in
the theory and technology of antennas, radio waves
propagation, transmitters and receivers, signal processing,
automatic control, information display, etc. It is impossible to
pay appropriate attention to all these issues in one paper.
History is not an exact science, and this paper only
summarizes the information known to the author from the
literature as well as from personal communication with some
of direct participants of this hard and long process of radar
development. Following to the advice of Prof. Yakov Shifrin
who today is, perhaps, the oldest scientist contributed
significantly to radar in Ukraine, we divide the process of
radar development on five stages below.
II. THE VERY FIRST WORKS DURING 1920-1941
A. Creation of powerful UHF generators
One of the key engineering prerequisites for
implementation of the radar idea was to create powerful
microwave generators. The research in this field was initiated
in Ukraine in the 1920s at the Kharkov National University
(KhNU). In 1924, A.A. Slutskin (1881-1950) and D.S.
Steinberg (1888-1934) studied the processes in electronic
valves under the action of external magnetic field. This led to
creation of powerful generators of magnetron type [1, 2]. As
was described in , in 1924, they succeeded in generating
magnetron oscillations with 7.3-cm wavelength. By the end of
the decade, these studies were leading in the world in this
field. After 1929, this work was greatly expanded and
intensified when the Ukrainian Institute of Physics and
Technology (UIPT, now The National Scientific Center—
Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology – NSC-KhIPT)
was established in Kharkov, then the capital city of Ukraine
(till 1934). There, Abram Slutskin obtained his second job, as
a head of the Laboratory of Electromagnetic Oscillations
(LEMO). His team designed and studied both CW and pulse
magnetrons of different versions: water-cooled and not cooled,
in glass and metal cases, etc. In 1933 the problem of excitation
of powerful UHF oscillations in magnetrons with a split
cathode and control their output power and frequency was
solved [3, 4].
B. First three-coordinate radar ‘Zenit’
Based on the successful generator development, in 1935 A.
Slutskin started an ambitious project, developing the first-ever
three-coordinate L-band pulse radar with an operating
wavelength of 60 cm. At that time, existed systems were able
to determine only two target coordinates. By the end of 1936,
the team of LEMO UPTI (A.A. Slutskin, A.Ya. Usikov, and
S.Ya. Braude) started a complex work of creating L-band
pulse radar for anti-aircraft artillery . In 1938 the radar
prototype was designed, fabricated, and tested; the first
experiments on the detection of airplanes were carried out.
The State Committee, giving an overall assessment of this
device, indicated that in Ukrainian SSR first in the USSR the
radar prototype has been developed that making it possible to
determine the three coordinates (range, azimuth and elevation)
of aircraft in the air. It was a two-antenna radar system.
Unfortunately, the purges that smashed UIPT after 1937
slowed down the work. Then WWII and the first defeat of Red
Army in Ukraine disrupted the plans, and no radar was put
into serial production . Before Kharkov was lost, the
LEMO team had been evacuated to Bukhara (Uzbekistan).
III. PERIOD OF THE II WORLD WAR SINCE THE OCCUPATION
During the WWII, the territory of Ukraine was completely
occupied by the end of 1941. Only those scientists and
laboratories that were evacuated to the East, had a possibility
to do research and design work. A typical example was the
activity of LEMO UIPT team in Bukhara, where it managed to
design a single-antenna pulse radar  with advanced
characteristics that was later used for sea and air surveillance
near Moscow and in the Arctic region . That was the time
when the first practical military applications of radar were
really important. It is interesting that alongside with
development of the radar in Bukhara, the scientists of
evacuated UIPT discovered an unknown earlier phenomenon
of a very long-distance propagation of electromagnetic waves
of L-band over the surface of desert .
According to the recollections of Professor Shifrin, with
the gradual liberation of Ukraine, on its territory the
antiaircraft batteries participated in hostilities; and also the
control-repair shops that provided maintenance and repair of
radar equipment. Yakov Shifrin, who in the future contributed
significantly into the theory and practice of antennas ,
commanded by antiaircraft battery that was established in
October 1944 in Mogilev-Podolsky. Such batteries were
armed with radars including American SCR-584 and others.
After the liberation of Kiev, the Headquarter of anti-aircraft
defense of the Southwestern Front was located in the highest
part of the Kiev-city; it had the radar branches, and Yakov
Shifrin served there during some time.
IV. THE POSTWAR PERIOD: 1945-1955
This period is characterized by the creation of many new
military and civilian research institutes in Kiev, Kharkov and
other cities, including of radar profile. UIPT was returned
back to Kharkov. The works on overhorizon radar were started
there using decameter and hectometer waves. The researches
in wave propagation over the sea surface were fulfilled, and
the unique breadboards of overhorizon radars have been
created at wavelength of 10.5, 23, 53, 115, and 240 m that
were successfully used in experiments . The results showed
presence of intensive clutters from ruffled sea-surface
especially at shorter wavelengths, and the basic works were
conducted in 115 and 220 m wavelengths. In 1952, S.Ya.
Braude et al were awarded by the State Prize for this circle of
Some new military schools of radar profile were created,
particularly Military Academy of Artillery Radar (1946), later
Artilery Radio-Technical Academy of soviet army (ARTA) in
Kharkov, where Yakov D. Shirman began to work. In number
of military and civilian institutions the radar courses began to
be introduced. During this same period, broad circles of radio-
engineering experts were able to read the books of famous
MIT series that were translated into Russian. In these books
the invaluable UK and American experience in the
development of radar technology during the WWII has been
Original textbooks in radar were also started in USSR,
particularly in Ukraine SSR. Gradually the section “Principles
and Methods of Radar” of the course on “Theoretical
Fundamentals of Radio-engineering and Radar” that was
delivering in ARTA by G.N. Shein and Ya. D. Shirman was
becoming deeper (in 1949 it was just 20 hours) . Deepening
of teaching the issues of MTI in the lectures helped Yakov D.
Shirman to understand and suggest the transition from the
Single Delay Line Canceler to Double- and Multiple- Delay
Line Canceler. In 1951 he was awarded by the invention
patent (author certificate) No 13855 on MTI system with
multiple delay line canceler. This invention was very quickly
implemented in radar P-12 and then anti-missile system C-75
and other systems .
V. INTENSIVE DEVELOPMENT OF RADAR IN UKRAINE
This was the heyday of radar science in ARTA (another
name VIRTA), in Kharkov Aviation Institute (today Kharkiv
National Aerospace University “KhAI”), in the Usikov
Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics (IRE NASU),
Odessa Politechnic Institute, Kiev Institute of Civil Aviation
Engineers (today National Aviation University - NAU) and
many other institutions. During these years, many fundamental
monographs, textbooks and articles were written. Great
number of radar experts was prepared in numerous military
and civilian universities in Ukraine. Many research and design
projects were made on the development of radar technology.
In ARTA (VIRTA) the school of Yakov D. Shirman
worked very effectively. Some important results are reviewed
in . The invention by Shirman in 1955 of the wideband-
pulse compression in matched filter was one of the most
significant contributions to the theory and technique of radar.
It was done independently and practically in the same time as
in USA, and it was implemented by much more sophisticated
and effective way. The first purpose of this invention was the
overcoming of the contradiction between improving range
resolution and increasing range of detection. Moreover, it was
also the beginning of the works on the theory of Time-
Frequency Resolution and Theory of Space Resolution (1958-
59). In the beginning of 1960s the new scientific direction
“Statistical Radar” was in fact was established. Other
important works were done by Yakov Shirman and his pupils
in the field of Adaptive Signal Processing. The theory of
radar-system adaptation to interferences was created and
different kinds of automated interference compensators were
invented. Among other directions of this brilliant team it is
reasonable to mention rather famous achievements in the field
of multistatic passive radar systems.
The achievements of Yakov D. Shirman have been
worldwide recognized. He awarded by the Pioneer Award
Committee of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems
Society with the citation: “For the independent discovery of
matched filtering, adaptive filtering, and high-resolution pulse
compression”. A number of outstanding textbooks and
monographs were published in Russian, Ukrainian, German,
and English in different countries.
Fundamental contribution to antenna theory  was also
done in VIRTA.
Another important school on radar signal processing was
created by S.E. Falkovich in KhAI . Its main scientific
direction was the development of the statistical decision
theory, estimation and filtering. The novelty of the developed
approach at the time was: first, that the research and the results
obtained previously for processes (time functions) extend to
electromagnetic fields (function of time and spatial
coordinates), which are the primary sources of information;
second, developing a systematic approach to the problem of
optimizing the radar system, when by solving the optimization
problem of spatial-temporal processing of the observed fields
with specific quality criteria (usually in the Bayesian
interpretation) the processing algorithm, the structure of the
whole system and the encoding method information carrier are
synthesized. The monograph by S.E. Falkovich “Estimation of
signal parameters” (1970) where he systematized the issues of
space-time processing became a reference book of many
experts in the field. Actually, it was a beginning of the
statistical theory of measuring space-time radio-engineering
During that period some interesting research and design
works were done in NAU particularly in the field of
meteorological radar for flight safety  and development of
stable algorithms for signal processing .
VI. RADAR IN THE INDEPENDENT UKRAINE
The works in Ukraine since 1991 were characterized by a
sharp weakening of the budget funding for science. A lot of
powerful scientific centers, especially military ones were
gradually disbanded or combined (including ARTA). Some
radar experts from former ARTA started to work in
universities, in particular in Kozhedub Kharkov University of
Air Forces (KhUAF) and Kharkov National University of
Radioelectronics (KhNURE). Contractual relations with
Russia were almost terminated. Electronic and radio-
engineering industry also seriously suffered. The result was a
noticeable reduction of both theoretical and especially applied
works. However an important advantage of new situation was
a dramatic increase of international projects and relationships.
Though a lot of highly qualified and, especially, talented
young researches were invited to work abroad, the researches
in the field of radar, of course, are continued in basic
Ukrainian universities, research institutions, and some
Nowadays, not big but rather strong radar groups work in
different institutions in Ukraine. Some internationally
recognized examples are following.
The Institute of Radio Astronomy of the National
Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is involved in the
development of various types of radars, including
meteorological, search and tracking, surveillance, and SAR
systems. Their Ka-band meteorological radars are probably
the most sensitive and effective instruments of this type in the
world providing detailed measurements of micro- and macro
characteristics of clouds and precipitation . The institute
has succeeded in development and production of high-
resolution SAR systems capable for effective operation from
small aircrafts .
The group of scientists at KhNURE has remarkable results
in the theory, technology and application of adaptive lattice
filters especially to the tasks of non-stationary signal
processing as both temporal and space-time processes.
Adaptive lattice filters were developed for defense against
active, passive (clutter), and combined interferences, space-
time resolution, and even for meteorological radar application
Theoretical and experimental researches of radio wave
propagation at low-altitude over sea and land in wide
frequency band (10 to 140 MHz) were done in the Usikov
institute of radiophysics and electronics of the National
Academy of Science of Ukraine (IRE NASU). Its influence on
the radar detection characteristics and accuracy of radar
measurements were studied; recommendations to development
of radar systems of different classes were made .
In the same institution a group of scientists successfully
works in the field of noise radar theory, technology and
Another IRE NASU group studies clouds and
precipitation, using double frequency radar sounding and
active-passive methods. The results allow to improve accuracy
of rain intensity estimation and to measure spatial profile of
cloud water content .
Radar group in NAU has developed analog and digital
radar means for dangerous meteorological phenomena
detection (theory, algorithms, technology) that were
implemented in series of airborne weather radars for Antonov,
Tupolev, Ilyushin, and Yakovlev aircrafts (State Prize of
Ukraine in 1996). Later Doppler-polarimetric method for
meteorological radar was developed jointly with Delft
University of Technology  and spectral polarimetric
approach for remote sensing of natural objects and phenomena
. In the field of secondary radar Ukrainian version of
TCAS has been developed  together with Kiev Research
Kharkov Karazin National University has made significant
contributions to antenna theory and technique development for
radar applications , . Theoretical Radiophysics
department of the same University contributed considerably to
research of scattering on complex objects, RCS measurement,
interaction of ultrashort pulses with complex objects, antennas
for impulse, wideband, and UWB signals . Another group
works on UWB and fractal signals theory and technology .
In KhAI, new methods were proposed for: synthetic
aperture imaging the earth's surface; subsurface mapping
techniques; radar mapping of the surface relief with
multibeam and multi-frequency synthetic aperture radar;
statistical optimization of space-time signal processing
thermal self-radiation of various objects and natural
environments in broadband and UWB passive radar systems
with aperture synthesis . Another group of KhAI
sufficiently contributed into the theory and practice of robust
locally adaptive processing of multichannel (multi-frequency,
dual-polarization) radar images. Essential results have been
obtained in automation of data processing including noise
parameter blind estimation, parameter setting for loss
compression and filtering, classification and quality estimation
A scientific school in the field of secondary emission
simulation for different radar objects including ground and
aerial (ballistic and aerodynamic) objects including those
designed around Stealth technology, subsurface objects
(antitank and antipersonnel mines) works in KhUAF .
They solve also some problems in antenna theory.
There were a lot of industrial enterprises involved in radar
development and production in Ukraine. Nowadays many of
huge institutions disintegrated but some new small ones have
been created. We can indicate some industrial enterprises that
are working in radar field today. Among them:
State Enterprise “Scientific and Production Complex
“Iskra” located in Zaporizhzhia develops and produces a
number of modern radar systems including those equipped
with adaptive phase arrays for military and civilian
Joint Stock Company “Kiev Radar Plant” is specialized in
manufacture of modern radar and radio-navigation and other
electronic equipment particularly for airplanes and helicopters.
It provides all stages of radar manufacturing including the full
production cycle of the printed circuit boards from the foil-
clad dielectrics as multilayer printed circuit boards of the 5th
class of difficulty for new generation radio-electronic
equipment . In particular, here is manufacture of the
family of airborne weather radars developed at the Kiev
Research Institute “Buran” who among other radar production
has also developed and produced (by the order) the original
aircraft collision avoidance system TCAS-2 .
Joint Stock Company HC "Ukrspetstechnika" located in
Kiev . Main its products are different kinds of Radars,
Automatic control systems, Data systems, System integration,
Means and integrated systems of data protection and others.
HC "Ukrspetstechnika" is involved in upgrade and overhaul
projects of air defense radars.
KVANT-RADIOLOKATSIIA Radar System Research
Institute is situated in Kiev . It develops and produces
radars and radar components. The basic specialization is
marine and submarine systems as well as shipborne radar
navigational equipment, primary surveillance radar, distance
measuring equipment (DME) and other.
As an example of small enterprise, the Transient
Technologies LLC is an innovative privat company based in
Kiev . It has been engaged in scientific researches,
development and production of ground penetrating radars
systems and technologies. A contribution to UWB technology
in particular for GPR and TWS applications has been done
Another successful relatively small company is
RADIONIX Ltd also located in Kiev. The company is
involved in Radar system design, production, service and
The international relations of Ukrainian scientists with
colleagues all over the world increased unprecedentedly.
Nowadays international projects and grants became in fact the
main source of financing science in Ukraine. Ukrainian
researchers participate actively in basic international
conferences in different countries. Moreover, several
international conferences related to radar that are organized in
Ukraine became rather famous and popular among the world
radar community. Among them: Millimeter and Sub-
Millimeter Waves (MSMW) symposium, IEEE Microwaves,
Radar and Remote Sensing (MRRS) symposium, international
conference on Mathematical Methods in Electromagnetic
Theory (MMET), Ultrawideband and Ultrashort Impulse
Signals (UWBUSIS) symposium, International Conference on
Antenna Theory and Techniques (ICATT) and some others.
This paper has clearly shown the basic contribution of
Ukrainian scientists and institutions located in Ukraine into
the development of radar. This contribution is really
significant. One can conclude that from the very beginning to
nowadays the radar was and still stays the area of great interest
in Ukraine. Ukraine has highly qualified experts in different
branches of radar, talented young scientists and students who
have potential for further development of radar in Ukraine and
worldwide, participating in the international projects.
Ukrainian radar industry needs for investment of capital and
can quickly be restored and developed.
The author acknowledges helpful information provided by
Professors Yakov S. Shifrin, David I. Lekhovitskyi,
Vyacheslav P. Ryabukha, Dmytro M. Vavriv, Vadim B.
Razskazovsky, Lyudmila P. Yatsuk, Mykola M. Gorobets, and
Vladimir V. Lukin.
This article does not claim complete coverage of advances
in radar, which is actually much richer, but just suggests some
milestones in the development of radar in Ukraine, known to
the author, who is solely responsible for its content.
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