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When Computers Went to Sea


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Preface xxiii Introduction 1 1 Radar?New Eyes for the Fleet 5 Beginnings of Radar 5 May Day?24 October 1944 5 Creation of Radar in the U.S. Navy 11 Start of the Naval Research Laboratory Radio Location P r o j e c t . . . 11 Tracking Projectiles in Flight?The Battleship New York Tests . . . 13 The Plan Position Indicator 14 The Baby Gets a Name 15 Mass Production 16 London?An Easy Target 16 Chain Home 16 Learning to Use Radar at Sea 19 The Most Valuable Cargo 21 Radar at War in the Pacific 26 McNally's Day of Infamy 26 Aboard Lexington 32 Aboard the Flying Boats 33 The Fighter Director Officers 34 CXAM in Action 37 Rest in Peace CXAM 39 The CXAM Lives On 41 Turning Point for McNally 42 Evolution of the Combat Information Center 44 The Kamikazes 49 Divine Wind 49 Floating Chrysanthemum 51 2 A Lingering Problem 53 Legacy of the Kamikazes 53 Legacy of Radar . 54 Problems 55 Quest for Solutions 57 TheThreeTs 57 The Guided Missile Frigates 60 Too Much Data and Not Enough Information 61 Three Digital Attempts 62 The Canadian Navy's Digital Automated Tracking and Resolving System 62 Early Digital Experiments at the Navy Electronics Laboratory 62 The Semi-Automatic Air Intercept Control System 65 Trouble with Analogs 66 The Royal Navy Comprehensive Display System 66 NRL's Electronic Data System 67 The Intercept Tracking and Control Console 68 Project COSMOS 68 Project CORNFIELD 69 3 The Codebreaking Computers?A Digital Solution 71 The Navy Codebreakers 71 A Place Named Seesaw 71 From Steam to Electrons 73 A Machine Named Ice Cream 73 The Naval Computing Machine Laboratory 76 A Computer Named von Neumann 77 ENIAC 77 EDVAC 79 The Navy Computers 81 From Gliders to Codebreaking Machines 81 The Moore School Lectures 90 WHIRLWIND 92 Atlas is Built 92 A Hint of Scandal 98 UNIVAC Persists 99 WHIRLWIND and SAGE 100 WHIRLWIND Saved by the Soviets 100 Chain Home a Thousand Times Over 102 Magnetic Donuts for WHIRLWIND 103 SAGE Goes into Production 105 SAGE in Operation 106 From Tubes to Transistors 107 Magnetic Donuts for Atlas II 107 The Undercapitalization Syndrome at ERA 108 We Can Do it With Transistors 109 BOGART 109 Enter the Transistor 110 SOLO, The All-Transistorized Computer 112 MAGSTEC and TRANSTEC 113 ATHENA 113 4 Conception of a New System 117 Project Lamplight?Conception of a New System 117 Continental Air Defense Coordination? 117 McNally's Mission 118 One of Us is Wrong, Mac 118 A Good Man to Have on Your Side 121 From Concept to Technology?The NTDS Technical and Operational Requirements Document 121 I Have Just the Man You Need 121 Building Blocks for Growth 123 A Digital Frankenstein Monster? 124 General-Purpose or Special-Purpose Computers? 124 Built to Go in Harm's Way 125 Marrying the Digital to the Analog 126 Drums or Magnetic Cores? 127 Automatic Communications 128 OPNAVBuysIt 128 5 Building a New System 131 Who Should Build the System? 131 Project Organization 134 The NTDS Project Office 134 Support from the BUSHIPS Technical Organization 136 The Special Applications Branch 137 The Radar Branch 139 Staffing the Project Office 140 An Evolving Modus Operandi 146 The Chief of Naval Operations Project Office 148 Navy Electronics Laboratory Role 155 A Computer With a Dipstick 156 Selection of Univac 156 Conception of the Unit Computer 159 The AN/USQ-17 Prototype Computer 161 Turmoil in a Young Industry 164 Building the Unit Computers 165 Fuzzy Scopes and Elliptical Circles 168 Selection of Hughes Aircraft 168 Like No Cathode Ray Tubes Ever Seen Before 170 More Than Just Displays 171 Building Blocks 173 Trials and Tribulations of Transistors 173 Computers on the Airwaves 177 A Link?The Primary Long Range Tactical Data Link 177 Selection of Collins Radio 177 From Digits to Music 178 B Link?For Those Without 181 The Interceptor Control Link . 181 C Link?The UHF Short Range Tactical Data Link 182 Digits in an Analog World 182 Developing the Operational Computer Program 183 A New Thing Under the Sun 183 Who Should Build the Seagoing Operational Computer Programs? 184 Real-Programmers Write in Machine Language 185 Real-Programmers Do Not Need to Document Their Programs 187 Building the Prototype Computer Program 188 Programming a Real-Time Computer 188 First Steps 189 Force Tracking and Data Linking 190 TEWA 193 Interceptor Control 195 The Stores 197 A System that Never Sailed 197 The Fleet Comes In 207 6 No Damned Computer Is Going To Tell Me What To Do 211 Getting the Ships 211 The Guided Missile Frigates 211 Not on Our Ship!?How Oriskany Was Won 212 Ready or Not, I Want it on the Nuclear-Powered Ships 213 The Billboard Radars 213 Long Beach and Enterprise 215 Building for Service Test 216 The Q-17 Does Not Make It 216 The Purple Plague 221 The NTDS Interface Specification 228 Good Bye to the Cigarette Lighter 229 Service Test Communications Subsystems 232 Service Test Computer Programs 234 New Faces in the Project Office 234 Service Test Installation 238 No Damned Computer 241 Service Test 245 Getting Ready for Service Test 245 The Navy Meets the Software Monster 249 Where Did All Those Tracks Come From? 250 If You Don't Have a Sense of Humor, Don't Use Computers 252 Hell, It Don't Hardly Ever Fail Sir! 253 Saved by Equipment Reliability 255 Service Approval 258 So What Did They Get for the Money? 259 Money Spent 260 What Was the End Product? 263 7 In the Air, on Land, and Sea 267 On the Land as on the Sea?The Marine Tactical Data System 267 The Amphibious Force Flagships 272 Hawkeye and the Airborne Tactical Data System 274 Advent of USN Airborne Early Warning Radar 274 Hawkeye 276 The E-2A 'Hawkeye' Airborne Early Warning Aircraft 276 TheE-2B Hawkeye 281 TheE-2C Hawkeye 282 Digitizing the Antisubmarine Airplanes 283 Other Navies and NTDS 284 The Royal Navy and ADA 284 New Names for NTDS 291 8 New Horizons for Tactical Computers 297 First Production 297 First-Production Ships 297 First-Production NTDS Equipment 298 The Watch Changes 302 Maybe these Digital Computers are Good for Something After All 305 No Kid Named Joe Randolph 315 Troubles with the Three Ts 315 Seconds are Precious?Weapons Direction System Mark 11 and the AN/SPS-48 Radar 317 The Birth of Weapons Direction System Mark 11 317 Genesis of the AN/SPS-48 Radar 319 No Kid Named Joe Randolph is Going to Tell Me How to Run my Business 322 Mare Island, the Testing Ground 324 Shoehorning a New System into Wainwright 325 Life in Main Navy 327 The Anti-Submarine Warfare Ship Command and Control System 330 The Requirement 330 A Concept for Automating Anti-Submarine Warfare 333 New Link 11 Equipment 334 A New Display Subsystem 335 Analog Leaves Center Stage 337 ASWSC&CS Aftermath 338 Time to Go Competitive? 339 The System Evolves 340 Automatic Detection and Tracking 340 A Large Screen Display? 342 9 Twilight of the Analogs 347 In Combat 347 Early NTDS and ATDS Deployment in Vietnam 347 OnPIRAZ 349 The Beacon Video Processor 350 The Marine Tactical Data System in Vietnam 352 Interceptor Control and Missile Operations 354 NTDS Vietnam Summary 355 Give Us More Memory! 356 The Fleet Goes Digital 357 The First Wave 357 The Second Wave 358 New Computers for New Purposes 358 Finally, 32 Bits?The AN/UYK-7 Computer 360 Moving on to Digital Weapons Control 361 Working Out the Fundamentals 361 Digital Talos 362 Digital Tartar 364 Digital Terrier 365 Closing the Loop 365 The Guns Go Digital 366 A Line of Standards 367 Last Decade of the Analogs 367 Too Many Computers! 368 A Standard Minicomputer 370 The Navy Embedded Computer Program 372 The Politics of Computers 377 Shield of the Fleet 378 The Advanced Surface Missile System 378 From ASMS to Aegis 384 More Boundary Line Adjustments 386 Problems of Success 388 A New Name 389 Do Old Computers Ever Die? 393 Summary 394 Legacy of NTDS 394 Recognition 395 How Could They Possibly Have Succeeded? 397 A Joint Electronics Equipment Designation System 401 B Table of Acronyms and Abbreviations 405 C Univac NTDS Organization, December 1,1959 415 Bibliography 421 Index 441

About the Author

David L. Boslaugh is the author of When Computers Went to Sea: The Digitization of the United States Navy, published by Wiley.

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