The Cult of the Imperfect

Chain Home

I watched Castles in the Sky over the weekend, the story of Robert Alexander Watson-Watt and the invention of radar staring Eddie Izzard.

A great story of British innovation and doggedness in the face of official obstruction and sneering class attitudes it made me go and read some more about this amazing gentleman from Brechin.

The Chain Home system operated at 25MHz, much lower than radars being developed by other nations. He justified this non optimal choice with the oft quoted ‘cult of the imperfect’

Give them the third best to go on with; the second best comes too late, the best never comes.

Without the third best, the Chain Home system would not have been operational and the Battle of Britain might have had a rather different outcome, not least the microwave might never have been realised!

I wonder if today, those that specify defence equipment should revisit this eminently sensible philosophy?

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments