Essendon Type 276 Experimental Radar - 1950s

The photos above and below show the red and white striped hut containing a Type 276 radar, known as the Aerodrome Control Radar or ACR, which was used experimentally at Melbourne's Essendon Airport in the early 1950s was located in the south-western corner of the aerodrome near the threshold of Runway 08.

This ex-naval centimetric equipment entered naval service in 1944. It had a peak power output of 500 kW and a wavelength of 100 mm, and operated on 220 V DC supplied by a power supply located in a nearby hut known as the 'navy hut'. This was an electric motor driving a generator.

In the Essendon installation, the operator was located in the upper section of the hut and the parabolic reflector radar antenna was located upside-down underneath the floor of the hut in an attempt to minimise permanent echoes caused by ground reflections - see the photo below. The antenna could rotate at up to 10 rpm, however the operator could also manually control the scan to track a particular target.

The dates of the photos on this page are not known exactly, but the Type 276 radar was in service at Essendon from approximately 1950 to 1956.

The diagram below shows the internal layout of the hut. Temperatures could reach 128 degrees F in summer!


click here to see a photo of the operator's position

Below: Another view of the Type 276 radar hut. The antenna can just be seen below the floor of the hut. It's hard to imagine that the van parked outside wouldn't have had a significant effect on the radar's performance!

In the distance at left can be seen the main airport buildings, including the top of the new Control Tower, dating this photo to around 1955-56.


Click here to see a photo of the operator's console

(Photo: Top-CAHS collection / Bottom-Col Durrell/CAHS collection)

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