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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » April 30, 2014
PIT RADWAR
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A Pedigree Stretching Back 80 Years
April 30, 2014   
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The State Telecommunications Institute (PIT), later renamed the Industrial Telecommunications Institute, was founded in spring 1934 on the basis of the Radio Engineering Institute, which had been in existence since 1929, and the Telecommunications Engineering Laboratory.

The institute had three departments. In 1938 the institute employed 350 people, including 200 research and technical staff.

PIT’s major achievements in those days included the development of magnetrons (high-powered vacuum tubes), very advanced for their time, and their application in radio communications, and also the production of quartz generators used by radio stations, eliminating the need to import many costly devices.

Television became an important area in the institute’s operations. Research work began in 1935 and was already well advanced when World War II broke out on Sept. 1, 1939. In 1939 PIT completed work on an experimental transmitter that operated for a few months.

In terms of control and measurement equipment, the institute designed and made many specialist devices that had been purchased abroad until then, including grid dip oscillators, amplifiers and universal cable testing devices. PIT also conducted advanced work involving the production of frequency stabilizers.

In the early years after the war, PIT worked on rebuilding telecommunications equipment as quickly as possible, ran courses in telecommunications and undertook publishing activity. Television became one of the institute’s main research priorities. As a result, the first public presentation of television equipment and television images in Poland took place on Dec. 15, 1951.

Another major research area was telephony, for which the institute developed a number of original devices and elements for control and measurement apparatus.

After a hiatus during the war followed by postwar reconstruction efforts, 1949 saw a joint project by PIT and the Warsaw University of Technology’s radar unit that produced the first laboratory model of a radar using U.S. army surplus elements and equipment abandoned by the Germans.

With the economic development of the Polish coastal region and the simultaneous development of the Polish Ocean Lines company and the Polish Navy, demand appeared for research into radio navigation and radio communication technology. A PIT branch in Gdańsk was set up in 1949. From the beginning this branch focused on marine radioelectronics, including radio communication and radio navigation.

A turning point in the Institute’s development and in the development of Polish radar technology came with the founding in 1951 of the Design Laboratory at the Kasprzak Radio Factory, to which a team of employees from PIT and the Gdańsk University of Technology’s radio technology unit were seconded, all of them specializing in microwave and impulse technology. The laboratory was tasked with designing a prototype of Poland’s first surveillance radar (the task was completed in 1952) and creating a unit capable of adapting Soviet licenses for radar equipment.

As the Cold War intensified, the authorities decided to establish the RAWAR Warsaw Radio Factory, which was to be Poland’s main manufacturer of radar technology. In the 1950s this factory made several types of radar under Soviet licenses. This was followed by a period of close cooperation with PIT, resulting in the implementation of the first wholly Polish radar stations, the most advanced of which was the NYSA-C radar.

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of intensive development of both large radar stations for the Polish Air Force and smaller marine radar systems. Hundreds of completed operational systems were produced.

The 1970s were a significant period in Poland’s postwar economic development. The “opening-up policy” of the time meant that numerous licenses appeared on the market and consequently new products as well.

The rigorously followed rule that military products could not contain parts and materials from non-Eastern bloc countries inevitably meant that Polish systems lagged behind those of the West.

On the other hand, being cut off from Western technology stimulated work on local solutions. In 1977 the successful team-up between PIT and RAWAR resulted in the formation of the UNITRA-RADWAR Professional Electronics Research and Production Center (or CNPEP RADWAR) that combined manufacturing and research under one management team. PIT became a part of the center and handled the development side of its operations.

The first functional product in terms of new-generation radar was the N-23 shore radar installed at the Polish Navy’s fortified observation sites. The N-2 radar family was produced until the late 1980s, when production of the N-31 medium-range radar was launched together with the N-41 altimeter that worked with it. This combination gradually became the basic radar equipment system used by the Polish armed forces for many years.

After PIT was separated from CNPEP RADWAR, both units continued their work—PIT concentrated more on the Air Force while CNPEP RADWAR focused on Land Forces.

In the late 1980s PIT developed Poland’s first long-range, three-coordinate radar whose parameters were adjusted to meet NATO requirements, and which was designed to be used at stationary posts that were part of the NATO Backbone network.

In the new century the Institute developed the TRS-15 mobile medium-range radar for the air force, for monitoring areas not covered by other medium- and long-range radar systems. Meanwhile, CNPEP RADWAR developed short-range anti-aircraft defense systems.

In 2001 PIT began working on the Liwiec project. This mobile radar reconnaissance system is designed to operate within an integrated artillery command system and also with single artillery units. In 2009-2010 three such systems were deployed with army artillery units, and one of them served in Afghanistan.

PIT and RADWAR merged again in 2011, this time under the joint name Bumar Elektronika SA.

Today the company, which employs over 1,300, is one of the most serious contenders for projects that are part of a wide-ranging program to modernize the Polish armed forces, especially the modernization of anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems.
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