The grandmother of our Legacy systems is the very early 'classified' computer work by
Associates (ERA) - discussed in the Computers, 24-bit
chapter and a few other places. These led to the Aerospace missile launch
computers, space-borne processors, and associated software.
The grandfather of our Legacy systems is the
Naval Tactical Data
Systems (NTDS), presented in the Naval Systems page.
NTDS included radar inputs, tracking, displays for operators, and communications to other ships for fleet defense. NTDS soon grew to
encompass shore based Marine Corps Tactical Data Systems (MTDS) with communications back to Navy ships. In 2008, the modernized NTDS system was successful
in launching and guiding a missile to shoot an errant satellite out of the sky.
Our initial Navy Airborne Anti-Submarine
Warfare systems communicated with NTDS via Link 11 protocols.
Our early International systems were variations of NTDS put together for foreign navies. Working with Lockheed, our Navy
air surveillance systems
extended from the P-3C and S-3A platforms to Canadian,
Australian, Japanese, and other ocean search applications
- still in operation since the first 1963 system contract.
NTDS tracking and flight sector analysis
became the basic systems technology for the FAA's Air Traffic Control Systems. In the late 80's Air Traffic Control spawned the Special
Air Sovereignty Operations
Centers (ASOC) that have now been installed in ten
Aerospace Systems involving communications have been with us for decades - the tracking of various
NASA orbits and telemetry there from. Did you know that we were the Apollo Mission
computer software supplier?
Government systems began in the eighties and early nineties. The corporation began
defense conversion studies as the former Soviet Bloc's military threat disappeared and defense contracts shriveled up.
This web site is a living document of our continuing
Legacy. We look forward to next decade
as drone control systems, software, and embedded hardware data become available for public discussion. [lab]
Page 60 updated
2.0 Systems Evolution
Our management and systems
engineers provide excellence to many government and commercial industries for five decades plus. These are illustrated in the back panel
display [right] from Minnesota's sesquicentennial display in May, 2008. Most of these are discussed in more detail in the 'tabbed' pages.
We expect to develop yet another page - commercial systems descriptions and history during future studies.
3.0 Tactical Air Command by Lyle Franklin
I do remember the TSQ-13 Tactical Air Command System. The system was designed by
MIT Lincoln Labs and Univac implemented the design. The function was to automate the detection and and provide
controllers information relating to ability to intercept and also determine the optimum attack angle. Once this was
established the analog computer could take over the guidance and the commands to the pilot. These commands could be given
via instrumentation in the aircraft or by synthesized voice.
Univac designed all the hardware. The interface to the long range radar was fed to the Data Display Group. This was
the radar data as well as the Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) information. The target was locked on and given a tracking number. Information such as
friend or foe or unknown was also assigned to the track number. When the target was identified as hostile the Air Force Controllers
would simulate intercepts using the analog computer. The target as well as the friendly aircraft positions were fed into the computer.
Based on current positions and speed the computer could determine whether the intercept was feasible. The controller could also feed changes
in course of the friendly to obtain optimum attack angle. Once the solution was selected the system provided the guidance to
the pilot via the Voice and Digital Data Links. The controller monitored the intercept. The Vector Computer Group consisted
of six analog computers so the system could handle six intercepts.
The system itself was heavily analog and digital. A card tester was developed using plugs to interconnect the boards to the test setup.
As I remember there were 200 plus card types both analog and digital, vacuum tube and transistor. Don Grittner designed the tester and Lyle
Franklin and John Saline designed the test blocks and test procedure for the boards.
My involvement in the program was to
develop then instruct the Officers System Course. Glen Kregness was my assistant. We were also
responsible for instructing the Voice and Digital specialist course. As the TACS computer was analog, I acquainted Glen with the only
digital computer I knew, the Mod 0 File Computer.
This was a great time to be in the training department. Ed Olzewski loaned us out to anyone that had a need and we performed.
TACS also had a large screen display designed by Skiotron. Dick Huberty and Lyle Gilbertson were transferred to work on that unit.
In addition to the card tester, I was assigned to design and conduct first article test for the Voice and Digital Data Links.
The TACS units were delivered to all US TACS installations. I was involved in installing the Shaw AFB site as well as teaching
the six week specialist course on the Vector Computer Group. The real expert was Al Gresbrink. Al had been a Navy Chief specializing in the
Mk1A analog fire control computer used by the US Navy.
Curt Christensen was the design engineer on the Voice and Digital Data Links and would be able to expand/correct this as well as
identify other engineers and personnel on the program. Roy Hegler led the Field Engineering group. At that time, training and field engineering reported to
Larry Reid. Clint Haggerty was initially in the Publications Department and later a field engineer before heading up the NTDS Training Group. Many
of the others involved that I knew are no longer with us. This was 50 years ago. Ed Smith was also a design engineer on the front end of the system.
The TACS experience was very helpful in the development of NTDS. The follow on system termed BADGE was won by Hughes.