Electrons on a Napkin: The Story of the Name Behind Prestigious
It was late at night, and pizza boxes littered a conference room as a team of bleary-eyed engineers studied a chalkboard filled with unfinished formulas.
At the end of the table, Raytheon's Stan Hall sat working with a pen and napkin, working out a design for a project that had consumed the engineers for months: a new radar warning device that would tell pilots when an enemy was targeting their aircraft.
That breakthrough was one of a string of innovations by Hall, Raytheon’s “father of electronic warfare” who perished when terrorists hijacked his airline flight and crashed it into the Pentagon on 9/11. This year, Association of Old Crows, a group of electronic warfighters, presented its annual business development award bearing his name to Lieutenant Patrick M. Hunt.
Hall was a key technical thought-leader in tactical electronic warfare, which uses sophisticated receivers, jammers, decoys, processors and software to turn the tide of battle. His 40 years of dedication helped make Raytheon a trailblazer in this field.
“He was a true clairvoyant,” said Peter Aichinger, who works for strategy and business development at Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems. “He had the ability to see what EW could be and, unlike so many others, had the ability to take us there.”
Hall served in the Army during the Korean War, a pivotal time for electronic warfare. Radio jammers were in the experimental phases, while just across the 38th parallel, North Korea was deploying its first Soviet-designed radars.
After returning to the United States, Hall joined Hughes Aircraft Company, which would later become part of Raytheon.
He eventually witnessed the rise of the small, 46-person electromagnetic division in Goleta, Calif. and watched it evolve into one of the company’s most important centers. The Goleta center is now part of Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business, which is developing the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Jammer, the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar, NASA’s VIIRS satellite sensor suite and other innovations.
Hall became known for his determination to overcome any technical obstacle. “With the amount of hours we were all putting in, it’s amazing that he never backed off. He always stayed until it got done — that was Stan,” said Ken Flack, a program director.
As part of his work, Hall spent significant time traveling between the east and west coasts. On Sept. 11, 2001 he was on American Airlines Flight 77 travelling out of Dulles, Virginia as Al-Qaida terrorists took over the plane and crashed it into the Pentagon. He was later awarded the Defense Medal for Freedom, a decoration established to honor civilians employees who worked in tandem with the Department of Defense who were killed in the line of duty.
This year’s Association of Old Crows convention will feature a “History Hall” outlining Hall’s contributions and featuring life-size models of Raytheon’s history of contributions in the field of EW, including the ALE-50 decoy and ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receiver. The association has given the business development award in Hall’s name since 2002.
“Stan’s handprint lies on Raytheon EW’s past, present and future — where we were, where we are and where we’re going,” said Chuck Orbell, business development director for the company’s Tactical Airborne Systems. “Stan was one of those visionaries whose dedication, expertise and effort led Raytheon to the forefront of electronic warfare.”
Last Updated: 10/28/2014