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Generation after Generation, They Are Engaged in Creating China’s Best Radar at BIT!

Generation after Generation, They Are Engaged in Creating China’s Best Radar at BIT!

——A series of reports commemorating the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up

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Editor’s note: Since the 1950s, BIT has been the first national defense industrial university in New China to cultivate red talents for China’s radar industry. With the continuous efforts of many generations of scientific and technological workers, it has inherited the red gene, aiming at pursuing the world’s scientific and technological frontier, serving the country’s major strategic needs, and strengthened the military and power with advanced scientific and technological achievements. In particular, over the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, they have made innovations in systems and mechanisms, and advanced achievements have been constantly emerging, contributing to the construction of world-class universities with Chinese characteristics. A few days ago, China Science Daily reported on several generations of radar researchers of BIT, and hereby forward it.

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Every morning, on the campus of BIT, an old man with white hair in his 80s would ride his bicycle from north to south, around half the campus to the laboratory and start a day's work.

He is Mao Erke, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, an expert in radar and information processing technology, and also the founder of Radar Technology Research Institute (hereinafter referred to as “Institute”), BIT.

Recently, in an interview, Long Teng, the Vice-precident of BIT and the Director of Institute, said that: “Academician Mao was still struggling in the front line of scientific research and teaching in his 70s. Now, the young and middle-aged members of our team have inherited his spirit, pursued his style of study of theory and practice, and continued the further research of radar”.

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Academician Mao still guides students to carry out experiments


Starting Business

In his office, Mao told China Science Daily about the key events in the history of radar development.

As an all time and space sensor, radar was first used in military, and it is one of the indispensable means of intelligence reconnaissance. It can learn about the enemy’s situation in a very bad situation. Churchill once said: “radar is a magic weapon to defeat fascism in World War II.”

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The 582 ultra-low altitude radar developed by BIT In 1960s

Taking the battle of Britain as an example, Mao pointed out that Britain had deployed radar in the English channel, which could detect the incoming German aircraft as soon as possible, and also helped the British air force use the few to defeat the many. Besides, in order to prevent German U-type submarines from attacking British merchant ships in the Atlantic battlefield, most British planes and surface ships were equipped with radar, which could search German submarines that came to the surface at night and charge them, so that allied planes could attack German submarines in a large range.

“In the early days of World War II, the United States did not have an advantage in the Pacific battlefield, but with advanced radar technology, they found the enemy first, and took measures first, and gained the upper hand in many battles, such as the confrontation between aircraft carriers.” Mao Erke said that the radar technology of the allies is higher than that of Germany and Japan, and radar has played an important role in winning the war.

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The Five Department Radar Technology Research office was awarded as the advanced group of education system of the Ministry of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in 1989

In 1951, Mao Erke was admitted to the Department of Electronic Engineering of BIT (then known as School of engineering, North China University), and stayed for teaching after graduation. In 1964, Mao and others jointly established the Radar Research Institute of BIT to provide demonstration support for the 14th Research Institute of Electronic Industry. They assisted the 14th Research Institute in the construction of China’s first phased array radar in Xuanhua area of Hebei Province, making China one of the few countries in the world that can develop large-scale advanced radar.

In the following decades, his team devoted to the research of new radar technology, and closely combined academic research with practical application. On this basis, in 2009, BIT approved the team to establish RACO. That year, he was 75 years’ old, started the business.


Cultural edification

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Long Teng, a student of Mao Erke, is also an academic leader in the research direction of embedded high-performance parallel real-time information processing in the Institute.

Long, 50 years’ old, became the Director of the Institute in 2004. He shared that the technical team engaged in Radar Research of BIT can be traced back to 1953. As the first radar center in China, the Institute has been well inherited and developed after three generations of construction and development.

The embedded real-time information processing technology that Long Teng’s team is engaged in is the characteristic technology of the Institute. The team embedded the embedded real-time information processing technology in the communication, navigation, sensing, measurement and control systems to complete the signal and information processing tasks such as modulation/demodulation, coding/decoding, correlation, transformation, extraction and recognition of information in real time.    

Long said that the team is committed to improving the basic research and independent innovation capability of embedded real-time information processing technology in China, researching and solving key basic problems in the field of embedded real-time information processing technology, and providing core technology, innovator and R&D platform support for the development of related fields of technology and industry.

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In the interview, Long repeatedly mentioned the style of study and cultural construction of the Institute, “cultivating people, tolerating people and cohering people are handed down to us by Academician Mao, and now they are also our team culture”. It is under the influence of such culture, in line with the principle of career retention, policy retention, treatment retention and emotion retention, the Institute has formed a domestic first-class research team represented by Academicians and Changjiang Scholars.


Overcoming difficulties

Long Teng pointed out that in today’s world’s scientific and technological frontier dominated by the research and development of various new radar systems, it can be said that there is already a place for Chinese radar scientists and technicians.

Academician Mao also introduced some interesting applications of modern radar, such as automobile radar, slope radar, insect detection radar and so on. Recently, the national major research instrument and equipment development project “High Resolution Multi-dimensional Cooperative Radar Measuring Instrument for Animal Relocation Aircraft Analysis” which was led by Long Teng’s team was approved.

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It is reported that the project focuses on major biological phenomena of animal migration in human habitats, and focuses on solving major scientific problems such as “structure and function of air ecosystem”, “dynamic behavior mechanism of animal migration” and “prediction of migration biomass and trajectory”.

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Among them, Hu Cheng, the Deputy Director of the Institute, is mainly responsible for the “research on the identification and trajectory analysis of migratory insects based on radar”, referred to as “insect detection radar”. “Among migratory animals, insects have the smallest size and the highest density, and the monitoring of them is the most difficult.” Hu told reporters, “if we can break through the extraction of biological and behavioral parameters of migratory insects, we can accurately know the species, biological flux and migratory trajectory of migratory animals.”

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On August 28, 2017, a mountain collapse occurred in Nayong, Bijie, Guizhou Province. At the invitation of Guizhou Provincial Department of Land and Resources, the “warrior” rescue team of RACO, carrying Huyan AB21 geological deformation monitoring radar system (also known as slope radar), arrived at the landslide site for the first time on the following day to assist in the rescue. Yao Di, a member of Long’s team, participated in this rescue.

The reporter then saw the slope radar products in the laboratory of the Institute. Yao Di said that the role of slope radar is mainly aimed at a series of geological disasters such as landslides, debris flows and collapses on both sides of highways and highways, helping us monitor highways, slopes and bridges and ensure safety.

“At present, the main methods are manual monitoring and point setting monitoring, which are inefficient and low in accuracy, so they can only be monitored in point shape, and can not be monitored all day and in real time.” “Our team has an independent property right of interferor imaging technology, which can obtain 3D deformation maps of landslide dangerous areas on both sides of the road, as well as the results of submillimeter deformation measurement. Our slope radar products can set up the equipment in the tested range, realize 7×24-hour sub millimeter monitoring and carry out landslide warning.”

In the future, the Institute will continue to overcome difficulties in embedded high-performance parallel real-time information processing architecture, processing module design method, software design method, low-cost real-time information processing chip for aerospace anti radiation, radar, navigation, image information processing algorithm research and other fields, and apply technology into more products.

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Group photo of Radar Technology Research Institute