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Oral-History:Kenneth F. Slater

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About Kenneth F. Slater

Kenneth F. Slater was born in Yorkshire, England and educated at the Hull Grammar School. After graduating from the grammar school in 1941, he briefly worked at a firm of accountants but soon got a job at the Ministry of Supply in Oldham, Lancashire. He was involved in testing magnetrons and began to take interest in the field of radar. While working in Oldham, he was awarded the Ordinary National Certificate (ONC) and a scholarship from the Oldham Technical College. Slater pursued further study at the college and was awarded the Higher National Certificate. In 1946, after the war was over, he attended the Manchester University Faculty of Technology, studying electrical engineering. Kenneth Slater completed his course in 1949 with a First Class Honors Degree. He joined the Radar Research & Development Establishment (RRDE) in Malvern the same year. At the RRDE, he carried out radar-related tasks and was involved in the development of radar for the field army.

Kenneth Slater was promoted to senior scientific officer in 1953 but soon moved from the Army Radar Division to Air Defense. He participated in building the Blue Yeoman system there. In 1962, Slater was promoted to Senior Principal scientific officer and in 1965 he participated in installing an air defense system for Saudi Arabia. About two years later, Slater was transferred to procurement headquarters in London as Assistant Director Ground Electronics. He got promoted to higher positions and became Director of the Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment (ASWE) at Portsmouth in 1978. After resigning from the Ministry of Defense in 1984, he became the Director of Engineering at Marconi Underwater Systems in Portsmouth. He also did consultant jobs for different parts of the Ministry of Defense when he finished the work at Marconi.

In the interview, Kenneth Slater expresses his satisfaction with the work at the Ministry of Defense. While explaining his career paths, Slater shares a proud memory of his involvement in the Blue Yeoman system and project works abroad. The interview concludes with an explanation of how Kenneth F. Slater got the title of “professor.”

About the Interview

KENNETH F. SLATER: An Interview Conducted by Peter C. J. Hill, IEEE History Center, 23 November 2004

Interview #450 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, IEEE History Center at Stevens Institute of Technology, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Kenneth F. Slater, an oral history conducted in 2004 by Peter C. J. Hill, IEEE History Center, Hoboken, NJ, USA.

Interview

Interview: Kenneth F. Slater

Interviewer: Peter C. J. Hill

Date: 23 November 2004

Place: West Malvern, Worcestershire, England

This is a UKRI Oral History recording made by Peter C. J. Hill, Cranfield University, UK Defense Academy Shrivenham on the 23rd of November, 2004 in West Malvern, Worcestershire, England. The interviewee is Professor Kenneth F. Slater, who worked in the military radar area from 1935 onwards and rose to the position of Director of the UK Admiralty Surface Weapons Research Establish, Portsmouth after World War II. He is still working as a technical consultant.

Educational background

Hill:

I thought I'd start by asking you about your school career and how maybe that led naturally or unnaturally to your tangible career later.

Slater:

I was born in Hull, which is in Yorkshire. That is certainly judged to be the North England, but I think it is only partly north. There is a lot of England further north than Hull and Yorkshire. My early life was spent at the local primary schools in the center of Hull. About 1931 or 1932 my family moved away from the center of Hull to the outskirts. There I went to a different primary school, which I enjoyed and from which I was able at the end of the exam period to go to the Hull Grammar School. The expenses were paid by the local authority. I started at the Hull Grammar School in 1936. One of the things I remember about that was that 1936 was the 450th Anniversary of the founding of the school. Therefore it was an epic year that I spent there. However my wider interests were largely dominated by Meccano . I collected quite a lot of Meccano and I spent most of leisure playing with it and building things. Eventually, in 1941, I succeeded in attaining the School Certificate, and left the Grammar School to get a job. Although there was some industry in Hull, there was no industry to which was keen to go and pursue for my career. My mother had a clear view that anyone who had been to a secondary school ought to work in an office. In the absence of any better idea I succumbed and got a job with a firm of accountants. I regarded this as pretty dull. The firm had the contract for the audit and accounts of the Hall Corporation, and that is a particularly boring aspect of accounting. There were thousands of cheques to be checked through the entries. At the end of 1942 an advertisement occurred in the national newspapers for a post as a lab assistant in a government laboratory. A friend and I were very keen to pursue this. He and I had from 1940 onwards combined our interests in building a radio. Whilst it was not particularly successful, it was an interesting aspect to talk about when following our applications we were both invited for interviews. We were both successful. We went then to Oldham in Lancashire to start this work with the Ministry of Supply.

Ministry of Supply employment, Oldham, Lancashire

Education period

Hill:

Now perhaps we can talk about your life in Oldham and your early start of government service in the laboratory.

Slater:

One of the aspects of work with the Ministry of Supply was that it started with a sixteen-week full-time education period, which was at the Oldham Technical College. The education period was to get qualifications in an organization called the City and Guilds of London Institute. The City and Guilds Organization was a widely recognized set of examinations for a number of types of technicians. It was widely accepted but lower than a degree. The sixteen weeks that I went to Oldham Technical College covered the first two years. The City and Guilds grouping had a three-year period – S1, S2 and S3 – and success in those brought the award of a National Certificate in Electrical Engineering. I spent sixteen weeks full time doing S1 and S2 and I thought I had gone to heaven because it was so interesting compared with fiddling about checking cheque entries in books. I loved the work and did extremely well. At the end of the sixteen weeks I was appointed as a Temporary Experimental Assistant Grade 3 in the Admiralty Signal Establishment Extension, which was located in Castle Mill Schofield Street, Oldham. Before the war the Admiralty had recognized that there was a lot of cheap storage space available in what was becoming increasingly disused cotton mills. Castle Mill Schofield Street was one of those. The top two floors were turned into laboratories. The floor on which I worked was the Valve Test Laboratory. Within hours of starting my work in June of 1943 I was involved in testing magnetrons that oscillated on the 10-centimeter wavelength.

Magnetrons

Hill:

Now perhaps we can talk about your early work at Oldham and the technical work you did with the magnetrons that led to greater things.

Slater:

It was the start of what really became not only my career but really my life, because I had never before heard of microwaves or had any dealings with high radio frequencies. However within hours of starting work at Oldham I was testing 10-centimeter magnetrons. The way that this was done, was we had an aerial system which was part of the naval radar type 271. On the turntable were two aerials – one for transmitting and one for receiving. Also on the turntable were the transmitter and the receiver. All the equipment, TR cells, waveguide and low-noise receivers were all present. When we tested magnetrons we transmitted from the window of the fifth floor at the cotton mill and received echoes from the buildings and other obstructions out probably to about 10 miles. Thus I became very familiar with A-scope displays and measuring range. The purpose of the test was to take the operating voltage of the magnetron through the required range and make sure that the magnetron oscillated without break over this band. I should think after a month or six weeks I was pretty familiar with it even though my understanding was perhaps fairly slight. The work of the testing was actually undertaken by two or three girls. I was responsible for the work and was involved in a number of other things that were relevant to supporting the radar work in the Navy. There was, for example, production of cathode ray tubes in various agencies in the southeast Lancashire area, Ferranti being one producer of the cathode ray tubes. Every few weeks I would go to one of these agencies and make a random selection of a batch to test. If the test was satisfactory then that batch was approved for delivery. There were other problems with which I dealt. The testing of the magnetrons included a measure of the power output – not a real measure, but the indication on a thermocouple. The power was judged by the reading of a thermocouple that was installed in a resonant cavity into which part of the output of the magnetron was fed. There were times when we suspected that something was wrong with the thermocouple. As a consequence of this I had to visit Hilger and Watts, who were then in London, and discuss with them what we thought were defective thermocouples. This was really one of the taxing jobs. The people I met at Hilger and Watts knew far more about the whole process than I did at that time, thus I had a very difficult time convincing them that the difficulty was their thermocouple and not some other part of the power measuring system.

Admiralty radars

Hill:

Now we are going on with the work at Oldham and the work with Admiralty radars.

Slater:

One of the other responsibilities I had was building test equipment for other valves that were special or particularly of interest to the radar field. One of the valves tested was a hydrogen thyratron, a CV12. That was extensively used as one of the key features in the modulators that we used for the magnetron radars. There was other work that went on in Oldham, particularly the receipt, acceptance and setting up of some of the older 279 and 281 high-powered radars for the Navy. These were built by Metropolitan Vickers in Manchester and delivered via the labs in Oldham to the Navy. At the end of the first year I had completed the education of S3 as well as the full-time education on S1 and S2. After taking the exams I was awarded the Ordinary National Certificate (ONC). Because I was so fascinated by the work and my interest was totally involved, I did very well in the Ordinary National Certificate examinations. I got results in the high 90s percentage on most of the exams. Oldham Technical College had some scholarships that were supported by the cotton barons of earlier years, and I was awarded one of these scholarships. The scholarship was for a university of my choice, but there was no way that I could go to a university at that time because the work I was doing was restricted and considered to be very important.

End of World War II

Hill:

Now we are approaching the end of the war and you are going on with work at Oldham and further education. Perhaps you could tell us something about that.

Slater:

I continued working for the Admiralty in Oldham. There was no promotion involved, because during the war these things were very constrained. Therefore I remained an enthusiastic temporary experimental assistant. However my education part time at the Oldham Technical College continued and I did the two years for the Higher National Certificate (HNC). Throughout 1945-46 my work continued. It had broadened to include more responsibilities in looking at what was happening in support of the radar activity in various agencies in southeast Lancashire. My education was completed through to a successful award of the Higher National Certificate. Then the war ended and around the middle of 1946 I realized that I would be able to leave and go to university. The university of my choice was Manchester. In October 1946 I started as a student in the honors course of electrical engineering at the Manchester University Faculty of Technology.

Electrical Engineering studies at Manchester University; employment search

Hill:

Now we've gotten to the point where you are going to university and taking a course in electrical engineering. Perhaps we could hear something about that.

Slater:

I was about twenty-one years old when I started at Manchester in October of 1946. The course included a number of aspects that were pretty easy to me because they were extensions of things with which I had already dealt in the Higher National Certificate of the Oldham Technical College. There were other aspects that were new to me – notably the maths and the electronic work. I had to work hard. I found it all interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Manchester. Most of my time at Manchester was spent at the Faculty of Technology, which was on Sackville Street. For some of the lectures I went to the main part of Manchester University on Oxford Road. I completed my course in June 1949 and was awarded a First Class Honors Degree. At that time I had to start thinking very seriously about what I wanted to do next. I had heard of the radar establishment in Malvern, which was known as TRE (Telecommunications Research Establishment). I applied for a post at TRE and went to London for an interview. I had also applied and had an interview with the BBC. The outcome of this was that I was offered a post by both the BBC and the Ministry of Defense at Fort Halstead. I went for the interview at Fort Halstead, but it was not my first choice. I went to Fort Halstead and looked at the work that was available on proximity fuses for artillery, particularly antiaircraft artillery, and decided that was a fairly narrow field of activity and thus declined. Then I was offered another opportunity to go to Malvern where there was a radar establishment in addition to TRE. The radar establishment was called the Radar Research and Development Establishment, and that was concerned with radar for the Army. I went for an interview, was accepted and started working in Malvern at the Radar Research & Development Establishment (RRDE) at the end of August 1949.

Hill:

I am tempted to ask whether there was any radar or radar electronics in your course at Manchester. Quite obviously you were taking an interest in that area or heading in that direction.

Slater:

There was no specific involvement in radar in the course, but there was a significant amount of involvement in the relevant technology such as radio propagation, the dreaded Maxwell equations and the theory of transmission lines and so on. However there was nothing specifically on radar.

Radar Research & Development Establishment (RRDE) employment

Field radar development

Hill:

Now let's talk about your early work with RRDE, a government research establishment.

Slater:

When I started work as a scientific officer at RRDE late August 1949 it had some similarities with the time that I started at the Hull Grammar School in 1936. As I mentioned earlier, 1936 was the 450th Anniversary of the founding of the Hull Grammar School. When I started work at the RRDE the establishment was busy organizing the first Open Day that it had held since well before the war. Therefore the first few weeks of my activity were involved in various ways of demonstrating high-power magnetrons to the visiting masses from schools and others around the area. I was, as they say, as happy as a sand boy. I was involved in preparing exhibits demonstrating features of high-power microwaves – sparking, standing waves, heating, cooking and the lighting of remote fluorescent lights. The wavelengths were S-band and X-band. At the end of those few lighthearted weeks I continued work with a section involved in the development of radar for the field army. What that term implies is radar which could be used by the field army when it was in transit as well as when it was installed on the battlefield. I was working with microwave engineering at X band, rather than on 10 centimeters, on design of parabolic antenna for range-only radars to work with bofers guns. I was very interested in the X band radar work and the extensive use of waveguide – which was much more convenient to handle than the 10-centimeter waveguide with which I had previously been familiar. The requirement of the section in which I worked was better air defense for Army units in the field. I had the task of a survey of methods which might achieve an antenna to scan a sector of about 40 degrees with a beam width of perhaps 3 degree at X band. A system developed in the U.S. at S band for aircraft landing guidance, the Eagle Scanner, used a waveguide with radiating slots in one narrow edge and moved the other narrow edge to vary the width of the guide and hence the guide wavelength. It was very successful and remained extensively in service in civil airports in many countries. It requires very accurate machining and accurate control of the guide width to a nonlinear law, but it remained an option. Other forms of phase scanning were at an early stage and were expensive. I spent probably the first two years working on antennas or reviewing the types of antennas that might be exploited for rapid scanning for the radars that the field army would find useful. I subsequently developed a scanning system called a Foster Scanner. This was based on design by Dr. Foster and it was developed to the point where it was a useful system on military radar. It consists of a cone the length of which is longer than the effective aperture of the antenna and which is fitted into an outer cone with a gap between the inner and the outer cones equal to the narrow dimension of the waveguide or other line source. There were two full-length slots in the outer cone and the inner cone had a full-length slot on the diameter so that the inner was two half cones. Barriers were fitted along each of the slots which were able to pass each other as the inner cone rotated. Suppose the cone assembly is lying horizontally with a line source of radiation feeding into one of the slots in the outer cone. The first barrier causes the radiation to turn upwards and flow in the space between the two cones to the barrier on the inner cone where the radiation is turned to flow through the slot to the barrier on the other side of the inner cone. At this junction the radiation is turned into the space between the cones to the output barrier and is then scanned as a line source feeding the secondary reflector. The system was developed and a model was manufactured in the workshops. The dimensions were: axial length of the inner cone 40", diameter of the large end 20" and small end 6". It was rotated at 600 rpm and scanned a 3 degree beam through 40 degrees twenty times per second.

Incorporating antenna into experimental radar

Hill:

That was certainly fascinating. Now it would be nice to hear how the radar was used experimentally in the tests.

Slater:

The next task was to incorporate this antenna into an experimental radar. The antenna was mounted with the axis of the cone in the vertical plane so that the beam was scanned rapidly in elevation between 0 degree and 40 degrees elevation. The complete antenna was rotated at 15 rpm. The display was a conventional PPI and a target at any elevation was shown on the correct bearing but competing with the noise from about twelve pulses on the same bearing but at different elevations and without any signals. It was recognized there would be an increase in the minimum detectable signal, but it was expected that careful setting of the threshold on each beam would keep this factor to a low value. The experimental radar was operated with a pulse length of a quarter microsecond and the peak power of 250 kilowatts. However the detection range was much less than estimated and inadequate for the intended purpose. A program to investigate the performance by simulating pulses displayed with added noise traces led to the recognition of this as the difficulty with the radar and gave a measure of the magnitude of the effect. At about this time, 1952-53, we had access to one of the MIT series books, namely volume 24, Threshold Signals by [James L.] Lawson and [George E.] Uhlenbeck, which dealt comprehensively and elegantly with the situation of the scanning radar and confirmed the results of our particular case. The antenna was subsequently used with the cone axis horizontal to scan a 40 sector in azimuth and the system became the Green Archer mortar locating radar.

Promotions in the Ministry of Defense

Hill:

Now would you tell me something about your career movement in the research establishments of the MoD and how you progressed through the grades?

Slater:

In 1953 I was promoted to senior scientific officer, and at the completion of the mortar locator I was moved from the Army Radar Division to Air Defense. At about this time RRDE and TRE, which was the other establishment in Malvern, were combined into the Radar Research Establishment (RRE) and I moved to what became the main site. I was initially involved with ECCM features, which were being considered for the Radar Type 85. Type 85 was a multibeam, very high-power S band radar for the UK Air Defense. An experimental system code named Blue Yeoman was built to evaluate and integrate the very many new subsystems and I was the project leader. The antenna was a cylindrical paraboloid fed with twelve horns located in two stacks side-by-side so that the horns could be large enough to avoid spillover of the main reflector. There were twelve transmitters, each of 12 1/2 kilowatts mean power, which were operated in four groups of frequencies each with three transmitters in parallel which were able to operate on randomly selected frequencies in a band of 100 MHz appropriate to each group. The plan provided sixteen frequencies covering four different 100-MHz bands within S band. The Blue Yeoman had only one transmitter installed for each 100-MHz band; otherwise the system was like the Type 85. The several ECCM receivers, such as log receiver, dicki fix , local oscillator off, and others were integrated into each beam and the total system for Type 85 was approved. I was promoted to Senior Principal scientific officer in 1962. From 1960 I was involved with subgroup K, the radar part of the tripartite technical collaboration program agreement between the UK Prime Minister [Harold] Macmillan and the U.S. President John F. Kennedy. One of the benefits at this time was the close collaboration between the U.S., Canada and the UK on parameters of jammers that should be specified for comparing ECCM receivers. There was also an exchange of hardware for evaluation. In addition, in the early 1960s NATO was planning to update the European Air Defense Ground Environment and I was the leader of the UK team of experts.

Hill:

I believe you can tell us something about your project work abroad, contract work in fact, and then a move to the London offices of the MoD.

Slater:

In 1965 a consortium of UK firms, Marconi and British Aircraft Corporation with support from Airwork and civil engineering firms won a really major contract for the supply and installation of an air defense system for Saudi Arabia. This included radars, communications, airfields and aircraft. The Arabian government wanted the contract to be with UK government, this was not agreed but the UK undertook to give expert advice as required by the contractors. As a consequence I went to Saudi Arabia with the survey team early in 1966. The team agreed the sites for three radars along the Red Sea coastal area. The six weeks I spent being looked after by the Arabian Army either in the desert or in towns adjoining the desert were interesting and I remember the experience clearly. The installation was completed with some difficulties but generally successfully.

On my return to Malvern (about 12 pounds weight lighter, the food was not like the Ritz), I continued in the Ground Radar Group until mid 1967 when I was transferred to procurement headquarters in London as Assistant Director Ground Electronics. From the wide range of responsibilities an urgent one was for night vision equipment. The Army had been very impressed by the U.S. image intensifier equipment and had raised an urgent requirement for such equipment to a time scale that it was believed could only be met by purchase from the U.S. The image intensifier tube was in production in the UK and the directorate undertook to meet the Army requirement for 1500 individual weapon sights within the time scale specified. By intense management and with excellent cooperation from the contractor, Ranks, the equipment was supplied on time. During my time in the headquarters I organized transfer of responsibility for Army infrared equipment to RRE from SRDE (Signals Research & Development Establishment). The directorate had responsibility for aspects of computer policy as well, and I gave evidence at the Parliamentary Select Committee on the policy proposals. Also, because the committee strayed way outside its terms of reference, I defended the choice and performance of the computers installed in West Drayton, the Linesman Mediator, (code name).

Hill:

Now we hear about even more promotion in your work.

Slater:

I was promoted to Director in headquarters at the start of 1970, and in 1971 I moved back to Malvern as Head of the Ground Radar and Air Traffic Control Group. Radar Type 85 was completing development and being installed on the defense sites. There was a lot of interest in air traffic control arising from the extended radar and secondary radar cover which was being installed. I had a small team considering improvements in secondary radar to reduce the problems of fruit, which gets worse with increasing traffic and increasing density of interrogators. The solution chosen was a selective address system, which also offered better ground-air-ground communication and is now the joint US-UK system. I spent a period at Malvern as Deputy Director of the establishment now called RSRE (Royal Signals & Radar Establishment) and Head of the Physics Group. This was followed by my being Head of the Systems Division and Deputy Director until late 1978.

Director, Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment (ASWE)

Appointment

Hill:

Now we have a significant change in your career, a very, very high step up on the ladder.

Slater:

In September 1978 I became Director of the Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment (ASWE) at Portsmouth. ASWE was equipped with several major subsystems identical to those on some modern ships and work to develop new functions and capabilities to weapons and control systems was an important feature of the program. There was a program for an Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system with wider frequency coverage and improved filter systems to minimize restrictions on radar and communications. Seawolf was being redeveloped for vertical launch and there was work on a phase-scanned active antenna radar called Multi-function Electronically Scanned Adaptive Radar (MESAR). These programs were all reviewed and continued, some with changed emphasis, and all had progressed well. The radar Sampson planned for the new Royal Navy (RN) Frigate is developed from MESAR.

Falklands War

Hill:

Can you tell us about the Falklands War?

Slater:

In 1982 the Falklands War started and ASWE was heavily involved in several support activities. When the RN ships were in close waters in the islands and the attacking aircraft were appearing over the low hills at close range modifications to the Seawolf tracker software were needed. These were developed with the facilities at Eastny in Portsmouth and with the RAF flying low and in close formation over the Solent. The modifications were signaled to the Falklands overnight. Another fast response study was to determine the response of the Exocet missile to decoys. Admiralty Surface Weapons (ASW) workshops were also engaged in the manufacture of structures for the urgent fitting of additional equipments such as the Vulcan Phalanx Defense System to RN ships. The period was one of excitement and stimulation and the contributions of several staff members were recognized by awards of Honors. I resigned from the Ministry of Defense at the end of March 1984 and became the Director of Engineering at Marconi Underwater Systems in Portsmouth.

Marconi Underwater Systems

Hill:

We're now at twenty years ago, Ken, and obviously quite a lot has happened in the meanwhile starting with Marconi Underwater Systems. Perhaps we can hear a little bit about that.

Slater:

I joined Marconi Underwater Systems. They had a new laboratory in Waterlooville, which is just outside Portsmouth, and the main task the company was handling was the development of the new heavyweight torpedo Spearfish. Other things the company did were mines and some work on an earlier Marconi torpedo which is the airdropped torpedo Stingray. However, Spearfish was a particularly demanding task from the engineering point of view. The development of most of the subsystems was complete when I joined and the difficulty was to integrate these satisfactorily into an automatic system. I was involved in many aspects of this at the general engineering level. One of the particular complications of Spearfish arose from the fact that the fuel system for the turbine has two major constituents, HAP and Otto. Otto is the fuel and HAP is a highly sensitive oxidizing agent. The two components have to be kept strictly separate until the torpedo is launched. The work proceeded steadily and has now been accepted for service in the Royal Navy as one of the heavyweight torpedoes on which they rely. I finished my work for Marconi about mid-1989, and that was the end of the time that I worked for any specific employer. Since that time I have done several consultant jobs for different parts of the Ministry of Defense. One in particular was looking at the difficulties in having contractors competing for the second order of a very-high-speed antiaircraft missile. That work involved visits to Shorts in Belfast and the report was produced which very strongly supported continuation with the developing contractor for any subsequent orders. I have also been involved in some of the Defense Scientific Advisory Committee (DSAC) work for the Navy looking at potential problems from the vulnerability of ships in harbor following the experience with the American warship in Aden, but I have now reached the stage in 2004 when I have retired completely.

Research career highlights

Hill:

Looking back over your entire career, Professor Slater, what do you think is the piece of technical work in which you were involved or that you actually performed of which you are the most proud?

Slater:

Can I answer a slightly different question? The work in which I was involved and which I think was the most interesting, rewarding and educating was the work to find out why the Army's first high-speed scanning radar had such a poor range performance. The work in which I was involved was rather like the work that Messrs. Lawson and Uhlenbeck did to prepare for volume 24 of the MIT series. It was not done as elegantly as their work but it was an extremely instructive period in my life. To come to the second part of your question as to the work from which I derived the most pleasure, the work I enjoyed and found most exciting was the work with the Blue Yeoman radar in which the detail parameters for Type 85 were resolved and formulated. There was an enormous thrust in radar technology in responding to the fact that jamming had become a very effective and professional way of degrading radars. The work with Blue Yeoman to formulate the parameters and the abilities for Type 85 was interesting, stimulating and I think done very effectively.

Hill:

Is there anything you would like to add, Ken, beyond the technical information that you have given us? Thank you very much for that.

Slater:

Yes, I would like to comment that I look back on my life, particularly in the Ministry of Defense, with great pleasure and satisfaction because all the time I had been interacting with people with whom it was interesting and stimulating to discuss problems, technical difficulties and issues that either faced us individually or jointly. I have thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere in the Ministry of Defense and I would like to add that I thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with Americans and Canadians as part of the radar work in subgroup K. They were interesting, it was exciting to visit the United States and the people were almost invariably helpful, interesting and pleasant.

Visiting professorship, University College London

Hill:

You are known as Professor Kenneth Slater. Where is the visiting professorship? Would you tell us perhaps a little more about it?

Slater:

That came about because one of the people on my staff in ASWE, Ken Hambleton applied for a job to run a new university department in University College London (UCL) and it was to run a course for the Ministry of Defense primarily on system engineering and the difficulties of MOD procurement management when with so many of the things that were being procured the work of procurement started before the total system was identified and defined. When Ken Hambleton got the job as the professor of Defense Equipment Engineering at UCL he invited me to be the first external examiner. I undertook that with great enthusiasm. I found it very interesting. After the period when my external examinership came to an end, because it was limited to four years, I continued my involvement with the course and was made a Visiting Professor on the Defense Engineering Group course.

Hill:

Thank you very much, Professor Slater, for giving us your oral history on your career in radar for the IEEE UKRI Section, which we will send to the oral history unit in the USA. Thank you very much indeed.