SRDE was primarily concerned with providing the Armed Forces with a modern communication system to enable them to meet their commitments in both limited and nuclear war. In the Army the communication links extend from the fighting infantry man, through armoured, artillery and guided missile units, ground-to-air links, to the control of battalions, brigades, divisions and corps which may require very extensive links extending around the world.
The type of equipment varied from the pocket-sized radio weighing a few pounds to complex computer controlled integrated radio, line and telephone switching equipments, housed in trailers or in more permanent installations, with a traffic handling capacity comparable to that of many peace-time commercial links. To satisfy the requirement to extend the links around the world a satellite communication SKYNET was developed with static and portable Earth Stations, and man-pack satellite equipment. The frequency range of the radio equipments extended from 1.5MHZ to centrimetric wavelengths with power outputs from a fraction of a watt to kilowatts.
The establishment was not directly concerned with radar and guided weapon work but was indirectly concerned where communication techniques were employed. SRDE had been responsible for work on telemetry and in particular for the Blue Streak guided missile. It also provided the communication links for the transmission of radar data, and thus made its special experience avalaible to the establishment having primary responsibility for the weapon or radar system.
Research And Development
The work at SRDE from the early 1960s to the late 1970s spanned the range from basic research through applied research, to design and development. The fields covered by basic and applied research were wide and varied and included:
- The use of the moon and passive satellites as reflectors of radio signals.
- Atomic and molecular frequency standards.
- Geomagnetic anomalies in the ground and micropulsation due to the effect of the sun, moon and nuclear devices exploded in space.
- Coherent light sources.
- Magnetic resonance of materials containing paramagnetic impurities.
- High vacuum work.
- Cryogenic engineering.
- The use of digital computers and creating software for communication networks.
- New methods of modulating radio waves.
- Tropospheric and ionospheric scatter.
- Fundamental problems of magnetic recording.
- Speech bandwith compression for encryption of military messages.
- Speech analysis and synthesis.
- Microwave engineering.
- Aids to night vision.
- Ferroelectric and Ferromagnetic materials.
- Electrostriction and Piezoelectricity.
to see some of the scientific papers
that were published as a result of this work.
While most of the development work was carried out within the establishment's Engineering Division a large proportion and particularly the final engineering for production was performed by selected firms. The actual division of the work between the firm and SRDE was found to depend upon the capability of the firm and the novelty of the work involved.
In addition to the extensive research work conducted at SRDE, some of the research was contracted out to University Departments on a number of topics and these included:
- Research into the mechanism of speech perception.
- Investigation into the spectral distribution of the night sky radiation.
- Active filters using resistors, capacitors and transistors only.
- Investigation of the relationship between optical absorption and microwave transitions.
- Quantum Electronics.
- Study of molecular beams and molecular oscillators.
- Transient experiments in electron spin resonance.
- Electron Spin-Lattice Relaxation measurements in dilute Paramgnetic Crystals.
- Infra-red ammonia maser.
- Frequency multiplication using variable capacitance diodes.
- Auditory perception in noise.
- Propagation of light beams in glass fibres.
- Communication theory.
- Ferroelectricity and Ferromagnetism.
To prevent possible overlap in the extensive Research and Development programme, the Establishment based on a Director with
TELEDATA, RADIO, SYSTEMS AND QUANTUM PHYSICS DIVISIONS, headed by Superintendents, was concentrated in new areas of strategic
Research and Development.
A Board of Management was created together with new technical divisions headed by a new Divisional Management Structure. These
new technical divisions included:
- A Radio Division dealing with Tactical Radio (Forward and Rear combat zone)
- Strategic Systems dealing with Networks and Satellite Communications
- Telecommunications Research dealing with Computer applications and services, optical communications and aerials research.
Some of the research formerly carried out by the Quantum Physics Division at Steamer Point was transferred to these new
divisions and the Visual Aids work carried out in the former Quantum Physics Division was put into a new Night Vision Division.
The creation of an Engineering Services Division, and an Administration Divison were included in this Establishment
While most of the development work was carried out within the Establishment’s Engineering Services Divison a large
proportion, and particularly the final engineering for production, was performed by selected firms. The actual division of the
work between the firm and SRDE was found to depend upon the capability of the firm and the novelty of the work involved.
In the following web pages the programmes of work performed in these technical divisions are placed under the general
headings: Battlefield and Satellite Communications; Night Vision; Basic Physics, and Telecommunications Research.
Also included is a description of the work carried out by the Engineering Divison, and the Telecommunicaton Branch REME.