About Lou Meren
Lou Meren was born in West Wyoming, Pennsylvania in 1931. After
graduating from high school, Meren joined the Navy and served four
years during the Korean War. While serving in the Navy, Meren decided
he wanted to be an engineer, and after leaving the military he
attended the University of Scranton for two years before transferring
to the University of Detroit, where he earned his bachelor's degree
in electrical engineering. In 1957, Meren began his long career
at Westinghouse, starting as an associate engineer in Missile Ground
Control. He was later transferred to the Electronics Division where
he spent most of career. Over the course of nearly 40 years, Meren
was promoted through management – he was supervisor, project
engineer, engineering manager, design supervisor – and was
in charge of various divisions and sections, including Power Generation
Section manager (1974), Equipment Design Engineering Department
manager (1978), Tactical Radars engineering manager, Surveillance
Radar Division engineering manager (1982), Westinghouse Airships,
Incorporated President (early 1990s), and CCCI&M Division chief
engineer. He worked on many important projects while at Westinghouse
such as BOMARC, Deep Submergence Systems, FAA Scan Converter, ARSR-3/ARSR-4,
Hawk Digital Processor, TPS-70 and NAAWS. Meren retired from Westinghouse
In this interview, Meren gives in-depth detail about his career
at Westinghouse. He discusses his time in the military, his decision
to become an engineer, and the draw of Westinghouse because it
was ‘heavily oriented toward electronics.’ Meren talks
about the many projects he was involved in over the years, the
process of proposing and bidding for projects, and the successes
and failures involved. Issues of design and working with customers – such
as the FAA or military – are also covered, as are competition
with other companies like GE, and cooperation with others like
McDonnell Douglas. Meren also discusses his extensive international
travel during his career – working with nations such as Taiwan,
Israel, Spain, Germany, Korea, Mexico, Egypt, Chile and Finland – and
the complexities involved with globally promoting Westinghouse
products like airships and the TPS-70. He also talks about his
management style, re-organizations within the company, and the
importance of the people he worked with during his career such
as Tom Tomlinson, Ted Foster, Wally Hoff, Coleman Miller and Milt
About the Interview
LOU MEREN: An Interview Conducted by Sheldon Hochheiser, IEEE
History Center, 12 April 2010
Interview #536 for the National Electronics Museum and IEEE History
Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Inc.
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 National Electronics Museum and
to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted
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of IEEE History Center.
Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed
to The National Electronics Museum, P.O. Box 1693, MS 4015, Baltimore,
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Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 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:
Lou Meren, an oral history conducted in 2010 by Sheldon Hochheiser,
IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ USA at the National Electronics
Museum, Linthicum, MD, USA
Interview: Lou Meren
Interviewer: Sheldon Hochheiser
Date: 12 April 2010
Location: The National Electronics Museum, Baltimore, Maryland
This is Sheldon Hochheiser, [from] the IEEE History Center. It
is the 12th of April, 2010. I'm here at the National Electronics
Museum in Baltimore with Lou Meren to talk about his career with
Westinghouse in Baltimore.
We could start with a little background. When and where were you
I was born in West Wyoming, PA on St. Patrick's Day, March 17th,
1931. We moved to Freeland, PA when I was about six months old
to a house on about five acres at the end of town. My mother’s
parents lived with us and they grew vegetables, raised chickens
and had a cow, just as they did in Switzerland before they emigrated
to the USA. My father emigrated from the Italian Island of Sardinia
so I’m a first generation American. My father was killed
in a coal mining accident on September 2, 1941, just three months
before Pearl Harbor.
Your father was a coal miner?
Yes. We were a very close-knit family and his death was a terrible
blow. My mother really worked hard to keep us going. When I was
eleven, my friends and I were playing one night and I knelt down
on the neck of a broken milk bottle. I suffered a cut under my
knee which chipped off a part of my kneecap. It took a lot of stitches
and months of rehab after it healed which my grandmother took care
of. My mother reminded me that my father wanted me to learn to
play the trumpet so I did that. In early 1943 my mother remarried
and we moved to Plains, PA. My step-father owned a small grocery
store which I worked in every day. Since there was still concern
about my knee, my athletics were confined to sandlot sports. I
auditioned for the school band by playing the “Star Spangled
Banner” well enough to be awarded the first chair. From that
position I was asked to play “Taps” at the funerals
for returning KIAs [Killed in Action], many of whom I knew. I always
played the echo and an American Legionnaire played “Taps” at
graveside, except once when I was alone for the funeral of a returned
twin. I told myself that I would not cry after my father’s
death, but I played through tears when I saw his mother at graveside.
That’s when I knew I would join the Marines as soon as I
could. However, my best friend asked me to join the Navy along
with him and seven other guys he had already convinced. Ironically,
he and three others flunked their physicals but all were drafted
when the Korean War started. I had to perform extra exercises for
two Navy doctors when they saw the scar under my knee. So here
I was, barely 17 years old, a month out of high school and in the
Were you interested in technology and science growing up?
Not very much. But I was interested in how things worked. My mother
said I probably wanted to be an engineer the time I stuck a coat
hanger in a light socket. I was about six at the time and I knocked
myself off a crate that I had put on a chair. I wanted [to] know
what made the light on our back porch go on. And when I was even
younger than that I took apart my grandfather's watch. He had a
big musical Swiss watch. And I didn't quite get it back together.
But no, I didn't decide I wanted to be an engineer until I was
in the Navy.
What happened in the Navy to make you decide you wanted to be
A few things. One guy in my section on my aircraft carrier often
bragged that he had a couple of years of engineering. I thought
he was an airhead, devoid of common sense, and he often proved
it. Once he tested the automatic fire system without learning about
it and without prior authorization. When he activated it a motor
drove a valve and water came down to put out the fire. This time
there was no fire and he didn't know how to bypass the valve -
when the saltwater came down it filled the cockpit of one of our
fighter aircraft. The plane was beyond repair and had to be dumped
over the side. Fortunately it was a hangar queen and the only plane
on the hangar deck at the time. Incidentally, the plane was a Marine
Corsair of the Black Sheep Squadron of World War II fame. Col.
Pappy Boyington was the original squadron commander. Our squadron
commander was KIA during a close ground support mission during
the early part of the Korean War. We also lost several other planes,
pilots and support personnel. But this guy who had two years of
engineering school should have known better. I don't know what
they ever did to him. That was the first time I thought of becoming
an engineer. On two other occasions I was so close when two people
were killed that their blood splattered on me. I just wanted to
be somewhere else, doing something else. After the second event
I thought of becoming a doctor. But that quickly passed.
After my carrier duty I was transferred to a destroyer escort.
All of the Electrician’s Mates wanted that destroyer escort
duty. So we put our dog tags in a hat and mine got picked. That's
one of the few things I ever won. And [Chuckling] we wanted to
go because we were told that this was a diesel-driven destroyer
escort that needed a lot of electricians, but mostly because it
was going to be running up and down the West Coast between San
Diego and Bremerton, training reserves. So everybody qualified
really wanted that duty. One of my shipmates and I had bought a
convertible in San Diego. When we made our quick departure to Korea
when the war started, we had to block it up and leave it on base.
I really looked forward to every sailor’s California dream
- liberty again - which included a convertible.
I flew out of Kimpo Airfield in Seoul, Korea on a C-119 cargo
plane. We island-hopped across the Pacific then base-hopped to
DC where I caught a bus home for a two week leave. When I left
Seoul, it was in ruins. Nothing was standing except the piles of
rubble. When I got back there in 1982, I was in the middle of a
really spectacular city. After my leave, I flew to San Diego to
my new ship. She was actually a steam-driven vessel. Therefore
we had an over-complement of Electrician’s Mates. And I was
the senior petty officer aboard. But rather than running up and
down the West Coast, we took her out of mothballs, and had her
shakedown cruise on the way to Pearl Harbor. We arrived on the
day that I was supposed to have been discharged. My three year
enlistment was up but it was extended for a year. They called that
the Truman year. And that pretty much turned out to be [Chuckling]
the worst year of my life. We headed back to Korea and on the way
we rewound every motor on the ship. I started thinking about college
again and of becoming an engineer. Two years earlier while I was
going to EM School at Great Lakes I passed an exam for pilot training.
I packed my seabag and was waiting to board the plane for Corpus
Christi when a jeep with a Lt. Commander and a sailor with his
seabag in it came roaring up to us. The LCDR asked me how old I
was and when I said 17 he told the new guy to take my place. On
the way back to the barracks he told me that I had to be over 18
to go. When I got back my classmates said I owed them a party but
they were happy to see me back. The following year I passed the
exam for the Naval Academy but didn’t make the cut. I forgot
college for a long time after those disappointments. But I got
more interested in electricity and electronics. Soon I was on my
second Korean tour, this time in Wonsan Harbor. One day I was smoking
a cigarette on the torpedo deck and saw a splash. I turned around
and saw a couple of flashes from the mountains behind me. Then
General Quarters sounded. As I was running to my battle station
I said to myself, “what in the blank am I doing here?” And
that’s precisely when I decided what I wanted to be now that
I was grown up.
I was a radar gun pointer on that tin can. But we were never attacked
by aircraft so all of our firing was confined to targets on shore
or on the water and most was done manually. One early problem occurred
with an electrical controller whose components were mounted on
a large bakelite base. When we fired our five-inch gun rapidly
it would crack right down the middle and after a few rounds that
failure would put the laundry out of commission. And that ticked
everybody off. We didn’t have any spares so I devised a brace
and shock-mounted insulated brackets and actually fixed the problem
which made everybody happy. The GE logo was in the housing. [Chuckling]
So I didn't like GE very much.
So you got out of the Navy after four years.
And then you went to school?
Yes. After about three months of wild celebration, I started at
the University of Scranton.
Right, which is in the part of Pennsylvania you were from -
Yes, just north of Plains. I had saved money, some from winning
at poker aboard ship, and luckily PA was one of the few states
which paid a bonus to Korean veterans plus an additional 100 dollars
a month for each month in combat. So with letters from my COs,
17 of my 24 months in and around Korea qualified me to receive
a much needed 1700 dollars. I spent two years there in pre-engineering.
I forgot that you couldn't transfer to the University of Detroit
with less than a 3.0 average. Both of these are Jesuit universities
and were very tough, especially after being out of high school
for over four years. I was goofing around a little in college.
Six of us who were veterans were classmates. We'd stop off and
have a few beers between classes. We were going to school with
kids just out of high school and we didn’t want to corrupt
them so we wouldn’t take them into any bars with us even
though [they] always asked. Besides them being underage, the Jesuits
would have skinned us. We managed to get through our first two
years but I’m the only one of the six who eventually earned
an engineering degree.
And you were able then to transfer to the University of Detroit?
Yes. I got engaged before I left and I had to take a few summer
courses, but I built up my marks enough to qualify for the Electrical
Engineering Honor Society, Eta Kappa Nu. It was pretty much a struggle
after that, primarily due to money concerns. The GI Bill provided
only 90 dollars a month which paid a small part of my tuition.
The U of Detroit was a co-op school so I alternatively worked for
three months and I went to school for three months. I was earning
money but not enough. Loans, including one from my sister, made
up the difference. So when I got out of school I was in hock up
to my eyeballs.
Going to Westinghouse,
And what led you from the University of Detroit to Westinghouse
rather than some other opportunity?
Westinghouse sent interviewers to the campus. I was convinced
that I wanted to work for a company that provided electronics equipment
for the Navy. I had worked for a power company as a co-op through
my three years at Detroit. When I graduated the CEO of the Pennsylvania
Power and Light Company where I was working said he wanted me to
come to work for them. I said, the way I see it you have an engineering
manager in each division. The only time I could get to do anything
relative to electronics is when somebody died or retired. Because
you couldn't upgrade a substation until the people working there,
who were union people, retired or got another job. And I said I
wanted to work in some place that was heavily oriented toward electronics.
So I interviewed Westinghouse. My sister worked for Dupont and
I knew it was a great company so I interviewed [with] them. Also,
I’d taken some graduate courses in nuclear engineering. After
the interview I didn't think I wanted to be a nuclear engineer.
I also interviewed [with] Philco. Most of their work seemed to
be TV related and I had had enough TV. My undergraduate thesis
had been a demonstrator TV. Years ago, when they were teaching radio,
the teachers had the components laid out above the schematic. One
of the engineering professors wanted a TV demonstrator with its
components laid out over its schematic. My two roommates and I
decided we would do it. It turned out to be quite a tussle because
frequencies are so much higher. We had built it on a wooden platform
that we could tip up so that we could see both sides. We finally
got it working when we discovered that we needed a little more
distributed capacitance at some points. We could do anything we
wanted to under the box as long as we didn't add components above.
We finally came up with a good grounding system and took care of
the distributed capacitance and got it working. And the first paper
that I participated in publishing was our thesis. Because we did
an undergraduate thesis the degree I have is a BEE as opposed to
a BSEE. And other than that my college career was quite uneventful.
But I decided to work for Westinghouse and I never regretted it.
I was interviewed in a Quonset hut at Wilkens Avenue where our
torpedoes were designed.
So they brought you here to Baltimore for the interview.
Yes. But I wasn't interviewed in the building where I was going
to be working. That was our Parker Road facility. The interviewer
came to the Quonset hut and described what they were doing there.
It was the Missile Ground Control Engineering Department.
Okay. So that's the department that you were hired into.
So you started there in '57?
I guess as an associate engineer.
Which I guess was the standard starting spot.
Absolutely. That's as low as you can get on the engineering totem
pole. That was the entry level engineering position.
On my first day I was introduced to the people I'd be working
for. My first supervisor was George Martin. My project engineer
was George Henry. George and I chatted a few minutes and he said
we have a problem that's been plaguing us. He said it's in the
missile flight simulator for the BOMARC. And he said I'll take
you out and show it to you in a minute, so I'd just like you to
read over the documentation and familiarize yourself with the hardware.
We've been fighting this problem for over six weeks. We walked
out to the lab and he showed me the simulator which was housed
in two cabinets. It included feedback amplifiers driving gear trains
and the output of this was, as the name implied, simulation of
the flight of a BOMARC missile. When George turned it on the gears
started chattering and he turned it off quickly. He said that's
the problem. He said we have all these individual loops and they
all work in and of themselves but when we close the whole loop
around the system these gears are chattering. He asked, do you
know what is causing that? I said yes, you've got positive feedback
someplace. I had just finished a course which covered servo mechanisms
and Bode plots and feedback amplifiers. He said okay. So I studied
for a couple of days and then I said to him, have your guys undone
all of the loops and tried to individually test them? He said,
yes we've done all that. I said well do you mind if I do that just
to get caught up to where you are? He said no it's fairly straightforward
you can see how everything is hooked up here. On my fourth day
I started taking loops down. I'd load them and sure enough every
one of them worked independently. I had worked until lunchtime.
I kept working through my lunch hour. About 12:15, one of the loops
that I had loaded was on and it was working. I turned around to
have a drink at the water fountain right behind me. Then I walked
back past the cabinet to look at some documentation. While I was
standing there I heard a ‘pow’ and right where I had
been drinking there was a brown spot of tar. One of the output transformers in
a chassis blew its potting cap off. And [Chuckling] I said well
I know what the problem is. That's the one that's oscillating.
A technician and a janitor ran over to see if I was okay. They
cleaned up the mess while I got a spare transformer. After the
tech put it in, I reconnected everything and turned it on. It started
to operate . All of the gears were turning and nothing chattered.
I turned it off. Lunch time was over and I walked in and I said
to George Henry, I think I have it working. And he said what? [Chuckling]
And I said yeah. So we went out to the lab. He turned it on and
it played its tune. And his jaw dropped. When he said what did
you do and I told him he said well we did all that. I said yeah
but I think maybe you didn't do it long enough. I said I had this
one chassis on long enough that this transformer heated up and
blew off its cap.
I got the shop to cut apart the transformer and found an internal
wiring error, two leads were reversed. That caused the positive
feedback. As soon as the story got around people were amazed that
I had figured out what was wrong after just four days with the
company. Before that went too far, I told George and others in
the group that it was just a lucky call. He said Lou, whatever
it was we got this thing working and we're getting back on schedule.
After a while the guys were testing me. Larry Nix who is one of
the best engineers I’ve known would ask me to run a Bode
plot for him or to review some amplifier and I would. I thought
wow, this guy must think I'm some kind of a threat to him. Meanwhile,
I knew very quickly that I would have to work very hard if I ever
hoped to catch up to these guys.
Most 26 year olds had been in engineering for five years so they
were engineers and senior engineers. And most associate engineers
were 21 years old.
Straight out of high school or college.
Exactly. I knew I was more mature than some of these guys but
I was an anomaly. And I was the only Korean vet in that whole outfit.
I was only there for two weeks when I asked for a week off so I
could graduate. I drove to Detroit with my fiancée and both
Three weeks later I asked for a week off to get married. And they
were very nice and even paid me for that and I thought wow this
is just great. When I came back I worked for three months. Then
I was in an automobile accident. A 16 year old drunk T-boned me
and almost destroyed me. I spent a week in a VA hospital in PA
where the accident had occurred. I came back to work for three
months from the end of September until December but the pain was
unbearable. I had to take a month off to rehab my left side, which
was injured when I flew out of the car. I was put on disability.
When I came back, I had to check in with the nurse. She said we're
going to have a layoff. The word is out. And with all the time
you’ve missed, I don't think you're going to be around here.
The nurse, Jean, and her husband Bill Grennon were from a hometown
very close to our hometown and her husband worked down the hall
as a senior engineer.
When I went home I told my wife that we might be getting some
bad news. But the fact is I didn't get laid off. I was very grateful
to Westinghouse for their belief in me and the trust they placed
in me and I figured I was going to pay them back. I talked it over
with my wife and told her that I would do whatever job I was assigned
and never ask for a raise, promotion or a transfer. It was going
to be like an extension of my navy career except with more freedom
and more money. I also knew that I could get by with very little
sleep which I was forced to do at times in the Navy. So in case
I had to study at night to catch up with the design engineers,
I knew that I could do it. I had told my wife before our marriage
that I would be the moneymaker and she would be the homemaker and
retired her to her new position after our wedding. She had sacrificed
college and had worked hard to support her mother and three younger
brothers for nearly ten years and had really earned it.
After our initial work, we got the contract for the improved BOMARC
Ground Control System. For the first several months I was working
on the first system, the XW-1. Then we booked the XW-3. That was
the operational BOMARC system.
Prior to that I had been working with the engineers testing the
equipment they had designed, the display consoles for both the
Direction and the Tracking Stations. All of the equipment was analog
and, since this was the pre-transistor era, designed with tubes.
The manual rate-aided track function was performed via a track
ball, in this case a bowling ball which drove two precision potentiometers.
The operational amplifiers required for tracking were designed
by Larry Nix. I was helping him test them and quickly found out
what a brilliant engineer he was. During this time I designed my
first circuit, which was an astable multi-vibrator. It was used
to blink alarm lights on the consoles and blinked at 3 or 6 times
per second. I was really happy that I did this all by myself and
got it through all of its reviews successfully. John Boykin, who
reviewed all designs, congratulated me. Later as we were testing
one of the consoles I walked behind it to monitor a signal and
saw a rear end sticking out of the back door. This person had his
head and shoulders inside of the back of the console. I was amazed.
I reached in and grabbed him by the belt and flung him out on the
floor. I said what's wrong with you blah, blah, blah. I noticed
he wore a red badge identifying him as a Field Service Engineer.
And I said what are you doing inside all of the safety barriers
we have here? You're lucky you didn't get your ears fried. The
power is on and you had your head very close to 16 KV. After that
event we spent half a day convincing our Safety and Security people
that we knew how to isolate our test area and lock out unauthorized
Hum. And in the meantime, I'm sorry, did I interrupt you?
No. But all of that was part of the first system. Then we began
the second system.
My new Project Engineer was Charlie Saunders. My assignment was
to design a linear video amplifier for the missile’s Beacon
Decoder using miniature vacuum tubes. The transponder squawked
a special code when interrogated. I designed and built a model
of the circuit and started testing it in the lab. Things looked
very good to me. I had hooked up a test equipment which generated
any code I set. I was playing a code through the amplifier and
had an oscilloscope on its output. I asked Charlie to review it.
He told me it looked good. Then my real education as a design engineer
began. He told me that now we needed to find out how it behaved
when it was stressed by temperature, humidity and power source
variations. He showed me where to find the limits for compliance
and had me find out how to prepare documentation for my requirements,
the design and test specs. For the next two weeks he spent about
an hour a day nursing me through all of the changes I had to make
to meet all of the amplifier’s requirements. Then it was
ready. I took my design spec to drafting and left. The next day
I found it back on my desk with a note from the drafting supervisor.
When I talked to him he said the draftsman said it was lacking
some details. So I took it to him and asked if he would show me
what was lacking so I could make future D-specs more acceptable.
He said in the past when he kicked specs back the engineers would
get other engineers to help and that I was the first one to ever
ask him. I told him to think of me as a sponge. I soak up good
information from wherever I find it. Then since no new engineers
showed up, I was assigned the rest of the decoder to design. When
I finished that I designed a chassis which housed three Beacon
Decoders. By this time the program had developed a set of standard
power supplies, cabinets and a set of standard transistorized digital
printed circuit cards. Now George Martin talked to me about designing
the logic between the request for the missile, its launch, tracking
and kill evaluation.
Is this coming along quickly or about when was this?
This was '58, '59.
Okay. So this was all within a period of a couple of years.
Yes, We were waiting for more engineers but George wanted me to
learn Boolean algebra and logic design. I learned how to do that
very quickly from a really great engineer, Sam Zimmerman. He was
a digital expert who taught design at the Westinghouse School of
Engineering Sciences. I had asked Sam to periodically review my
designs for me and he taught me what I needed to know about clock
speeds, sneak paths and other design subtleties. Don Scott was
his manager. Don’s group designed the standard family of
printed circuit cards. One card had two flip-flops on it. Other
cards had as many multiple input and or gates as pin limitations
would allow. These were the building blocks for all digital logic
design for this program. Next I got to sit in on meetings with
our system architects and documented the requirements for the design
I was about to begin. Now I was exposed to three outstanding engineers,
Jim Clark, Maury Wexler and John Gitt. When they finished passing
down the requirements I started designing what really was a hard-wired,
fixed program computer. We drew our own diagrams using logic symbol
templates and we printed our own running lists. When I finished,
the design consisted of over 450 cards. Each card had a 23 pin
connector with 2 pins devoted to power and ground. I don’t
recall whether a pin could hold 2 or 3 wires, but in total the
chassis had over 10,500 connections all of which were manually
entered on long lists. I knew that they were destined for typists
but my concern about transcription errors prevented that from happening.
The chassis was hand wired since numerically controlled machines
were not yet available.
This was a horrendous amount of work. I used to take the logic
diagrams home with me. I wanted to spend my time at work designing
so I taught my wife how to read them and she and I made up the
running lists for those 450 cards worth of logic. I [Chuckling]
convinced her when I said what the heck, we don't have much to
do anyway. We didn't have much money left after paying our bills.
So she jumped right into it. In fact, after a while I thought she
wanted to start designing something by herself. She turned out
to be my secret weapon. She was remarkable. Due to our work at
home my running lists kept pace with my design. When I finished
the design my wife and I double checked everything over a weekend.
On Monday I took the logic diagrams and running lists to my weekly
schedule review for sign-off. Reviews were held every Monday morning
in my section manager’s office. My section manager, Dave
Balthis, was a stickler for detail and one of the finest people
I have ever known. I worked in his section for my first 13 years
at Wx. The pile of drawings which I was getting ready to release
to the shop included those for the drawers that the cards plugged
into and the cabinet that housed those drawers and the drawer containing
the three Beacon Decoders which I had previously released to the
shop. In fact, I had designed the entire cabinet that supported
the Engagement Direction Station and everything in it . Later,
as part of my test plan, I designed a control panel to test the
cabinet. But I was asked to tailor it to fit into the console bullnose,
and that became the control panel used by Joe Spontak to launch
every BOMARC missile ever fired. Joe was a navigator shot down
over Germany during WWII and spent time as a POW and is a longtime
The wiring information on the running lists was months ahead of
schedule. We released it to the shop and I wrote test specs for
the hardware I had designed and visited the shop a few times a
day to see how things were going. I got to know all of the shop
people, some of whom were veterans. They got me to join the American
Legion and the VFW and we sometimes joined them at dances and parties.
When the hardware started coming out it was brought to a large
laboratory area for testing. And it was all my hardware. The decoders
went through their test very quickly and our configuration management
group signed off on them. This meant that nothing could be changed
without authorization from Boeing or a letter from God, or so it
seemed. I was anxious to start testing the logic I had designed.
When the cabinet arrived, a technician circuit checked the wiring
and smoke-tested the cabinet. It was fine and he mounted the drawers.
But I was not going to circuit check the chassis with its thousands
of connections except for the power and ground pins. I knew that
the design was very forgiving so I decided to test the logic in
the same order in which I had designed it. So I started on page
one of my diagrams, plugged in the first card with the logic elements
on it and checked for the proper outputs. It was unbelievable.
In less than a week everything was tested. I had uncovered three
errors. Two were wiring errors and one was an error which I had
made by blocking a signal path by mistake. The cabinet was ready
to support the Engagement Direction Station which was getting ready
to come out of the shop. And [Chuckling] one engineer from another
section approached me and he said you're making us all look bad.
And [Chuckling] I said what? and he said yeah, you're doing the
work of three or four engineers. I just ignored him. I told my
wife what he said and she said I think we’ve paid Westinghouse
back for how well you were treated when you started. [Chuckling]
For years, usually at some elegant restaurant, especially when
we travelled around Europe, she would say we’ve sure come
a long way since we started at Westinghouse haven’t we. That
would always remind me how great a job I had and how special a
wife I had.
I used to compare the feeling I got when something I designed
was delivered with what I thought an obstetrician must feel like
after delivering a baby.
So you've finished the design of the XW 3 for BOMARC.
And then you moved onto another assignment?
Right after we finished I was asked to go to Florida to check
out the equipment that our section had designed. I was told that
if I went, Charlie Saunders, George Henry, and others could stay
at Parker Road and start up the Typhon Program. Just before I left
I was asked to check out a cabinet designed in another section
by Charlie Hills who had suffered a heart attack. Although his
cabinet interfaced with mine I wasn’t familiar with it. One
of our system engineers, John Gitt, was taking it to the field.
The field manager was Joe Spontak who I mentioned earlier. Our
Air Arm Division provided the radar in the nose of the missile.
And Boeing was the prime.
Okay. They did the missile. Air Arm did the radar.
And we did all the ground control equipment. It was great for
me to go to the field with the equipment. It was another learning
experience. When I arrived in Florida, the first name I saw on
a lawn sign on Eglin Air Force Base was that of Colonel Paul Tibbits
who flew the Enola Gay. I met him when he toured the facility.
The checkout of both equipments went well when they tested individually.
But when they were connected together they were incompatible. Charlie’s
cabinet used mechanical switches, crossbars and relays to pass
through missile requests and data and the logic in my equipment
couldn’t tolerate the switching transients. I quickly came
up with a fix which I could implement by de-coupling a lot of signals.
When I called Baltimore I was told that I couldn’t do that
to my configured equipment. I was told the same thing about Charlie’s
equipment. I joked with John Gitt and told him that since I couldn’t
modify either equipment I’d probably have to put something
in between the cabinets in the cable trench under the platform.
Two weeks later my joke became reality when I had the configured
decoupling and filter unit I had quickly designed installed in
the cable trench between the cabinets. The next evening our Department
Manager, Maynard Briggs, flew down and after a short visit took
John Gitt and I to dinner at the Kapok Tree Inn near Tampa. The
next day I was home. While I was on site I met and worked with
Fred Popodi who solved several difficult problems for us during
and Transit Program
Some of us transferred to the Electronics Division managed by
Bob Kirby and located in the West Building where I spent most of
my career. During my next assignment I designed a few analog and
digital PC boards for the AN/UPA-48 Display for a contract to replace
the tube type AN/UPA-35 PPI with transistorized circuitry. Next
I was loaned to Advanced Development to interface a computer with
a matrix display which was 64 by 128 elements. The Navy had contracted
Maico, the hearing aid company, to design two digital computers.
Each was to drive an electroluminescent ferroelectric, ELF, display
being designed by the Wx Research Labs in Pittsburgh. For many
reasons, the Navy cancelled the computer contract. The second computer
was delivered to our Advanced Development Lab, and I was given
three months to integrate it with the display. All existing documentation
including logic diagrams and a draft copy of the instruction book
along with spare boards, a tape punch and a paper tape reader used
to program the computer were included. The design was incomplete.
It lacked the ability to interface with the display. Fortunately,
my training by those very sharp engineers I mentioned earlier brought
success. I designed the output registers for the computer and a
shift register which I planned to output to an oscilloscope. I
needed to modify the scope to intensity modulate its CRT to couple
the shift register output into its cathode. I was pretty sure that
no one would give me permission to do that, so I just did it. Later,
when there was a question about the source of a problem between
the computer and the display, the answer was on the scope. I was
well prepared to succeed at this assignment which I finished on
time. Reed Brainerd, one of the Advanced Development Managers responsible
for this project, was very grateful for what I had done. Somewhere
along the line, for his first Wx job, Wally Hoff was assigned to
Meanwhile, Ed Smith’s Communications Section won the contract
for the Navy’s Transit Program, the AN/BRN-3 Receiver Set.
The Applied Physics Lab of Johns Hopkins University was the Navy’s
prime contractor for the development phase. The equipment receives
and decodes signals from transit navigational satellites and accurately
establishes the position of our nuclear subs. That scenario and
a receiver are in a gallery here in the National Electronics Museum.
Dave Balthis agreed to help design the system. I was an acting
supervisor and assigned Peyton Marshall as the project engineer.
One requirement was to ensure the sub’s captain that the
equipment was operational before he exposed his periscope and antenna
to receive the satellite’s transmission. To accomplish this
we designed an operational test equipment which simulated the satellite
and injected an encoded signal into the front end of the receiver.
This was a difficult task. The signal had to emulate that received
from the satellite, especially its stability. Our design included
solid-state digital, analog and RF circuits. Once again we were
able to reapply the digital PC cards developed for the BOMARC when
we designed the Barker Word Generator section of the OTE. Ed asked
me to write the parameters report which APL required. The stability
of each circuit and subsystem had to be calculated then used in
an overall mathematical evaluation of the system to confirm that
the overall system stability was adequate to position the sub within
a specified circle of accuracy. I knew how to analyze the circuits
and how to describe the transfer functions throughout the system.
But no one ever taught me how to combine all of the pieces until
I had a few skull sessions with Les Thomas nearly always at lunchtime.
He showed me which parameters added directly, and how some were
the result of RMS combinations for example. Then I wrote the report.
It seemed to me that every time I needed help some really great
engineer would emerge. Les was one of those responsible for the
success of the Transit Program.
Was Typhon your next assignment?
No. It was an antenna multi-coupler assignment. I was loaned to
another group. When we moved, my section manager Dave Balthis and
I and several other people went and he started the display and
Okay. So you're working on displays then.
Right. But we didn't have any display work to do. So I was loaned
to a communications group for some work on HF antenna multi-couplers.
I was supposed to be there for three months, reporting to Tom Frame,
the group supervisor. He brought me quickly up to speed then took
me out to the factory where several people were tuning the multi-couplers.
The components were mounted on stand-offs wired together to form
a chassis mounted assembly. A distributed amplifier was being designed
to drive a number of those assemblies. Tom told me the test department
was having trouble tuning the units and had spent too many hours
on the small pre-production lot he had shown me. He wanted me to
see if I could find a way to shorten the test cycle. I took a schematic
home with me and after dinner I sketched out a printed circuit
card that could house all of the components. The next day I told
Tom that I wanted to try a printed card solution for repeatability
since all of the assemblies had been wired with subtle differences.
He hadn’t heard about our work at Parker Road so I told him
about how we laid out our own breadboards before we had drafting
make a set of manufacturing drawings. After lunch he told me to
go ahead. Before that he had called Dave Balthis and Charlie Saunders
to see whether or not I had my head screwed on right. He then held
the release of further units. I laid out a card and showed some
of his engineers how to do it. We quickly got four cards etched,
built them up and had the test department tune them. They were
all easy to tune and met the spec. Drafting was started. Tom said
they could mount the circuit inside an aluminum can to shield it
and that was done. So my assignment there only lasted two weeks
because we had -
You solved the problem.
Yes. But it was just an opportune time. I brought the printed
circuit technology to a group that hadn't used it before. We had
just finished a job where we did [use it], so it was an easy fit.
Display Group: Typhon,
Okay. So then, did you go back to the display group?
Yes. I spent 13 years in the display group.
I see that. So I guess probably somewhere around, what, '62 or
So now you're beginning to actually work on the displays.
Yes. The first display for our group was the display for the AN/SPG-59
Typhon Radar Program. It was a combined selectable A, R, or Z display
which was used to measure the contents of the Doppler filters among
other things. Our interface for the program was George Henry. And
very soon after that we got the go ahead to do the display for
the Spade Sonar system which was a 1000 line monitor used to display
the output of single-ended scan converters. Charlie Saunders was
our interface for that program. Both worked for George Martin and
knew my display capability because they had trained me. Because
the designs were concurrent and both were Navy programs we found
a lot of common requirements which we could take advantage of for
the future. So I laid out project plans which resulted in a standard
console design. By this time I had a group of engineers and -
So by this time you had worked your way up, engineer, senior engineer
and now you were a project engineer?
Right. So you have people now reporting to you.
Yes. Really super people. Then, a program that Jack Spangler had
won at Parker Road called WIRDS, the Weather Information Remoting
and Display System, was transferred to our section and my assignment
was to finish it up. A single-ended storage tube received weather
radar data in its rho-theta or PPI format and converted it to a
slow-scan TV format and also compressed its bandwidth for transmission
over ordinary telephone lines. It was a really clever modular design.
Standard size plug-in modules housed a miniature scan converter
and its control circuitry, power supplies and PC cards. The cards
were about 2 by 3 inches. The modules plugged into a cabinet. To
finish the design, Bob Fowler and I determined that we needed to
design 25 additional PC card types. Bob took on twelve of them
and I spread the rest among five other engineers. There wasn’t
much money left and we were not allowed to overrun the remaining
budget. Sometimes when programs ran out of money you either had
the opportunity to overrun or to spend unlimited amounts of your
own time. Dave Balthis asked us to work many hours of free overtime.
But to his credit, he was always there with us. All of us liked
our jobs. We all felt that display design was the most glamorous
part of engineering and the heart of every electronic system so
we liked what we were doing. I told you earlier why I developed
a sense of loyalty to Wx so nothing bothered me. And so we finished
that job mostly on our own time hoping that we would get a follow-on
production contract. But we never did. So the customer got a terrific
bargain. But it added valuable scan converter technology to our
Now who was the customer for this system?
So now you're not on a military project.
Not until my next assignment as project engineer for the Navy
ASW Radar. We designed a display console which included a high
resolution PPI and a direct view storage tube which we used as
an expanded PPI. The radar could detect a sub’s periscope
and we used that event to expand the area around the detection
and cue the target coordinates to the ship’s CIC and weapons
systems. The Ka band radar for this system was provided by our
Air Arm Division and modified for shipboard use by our radar engineers.
Our program office booked derivatives of this radar, the BOSS and
the SDR. The Navy used the radar in their Broad Ocean Scoring System.
The Air Force used the SDR radar for splash detection. When the
Air Force launched a missile from Vandenberg AFB they wanted to
retrieve the instrumented nose cone after it splashed down in the
lagoon at Kwajalein. The time line required that we automatically
positioned the EPPI display inside a 1/4 mile window. Translating
that requirement to display terms meant we had to pulse the tube’s
cathode at 1500 volts for three microseconds on each range sweep
within the azimuth gate. The manual positioning applications of
the past permitted slower switching time. I had assigned Larry
Nix, our most experienced design engineer, to the DVST’s.
He had been trying various ways to snap the cathode on and off
but nothing worked. At the next Monday schedule review I told Dave
Balthis that we had a problem we hadn’t been able to solve.
He said what will it take and I said probably an invention. Without
batting an eye he said how long will that take and I said 6 weeks
and that’s what was reported to the program. I went out to
the lab and told Larry that Dave had just scheduled an invention
for us and he said well, we better get busy.
Usually our displays were the first subsystems to show up for
system test. But now we were taking a lot of heat. We were going
to blow the system’s shipping schedule but more importantly
we would miss a billing milestone. That got me a lot of unwanted
help and attention. Immediately, Larry and I reviewed, discussed,
tried and discarded a lot of potential solutions. We even asked
our tube division about stuffing a switching tube or a spark gap
or anything they could inside the tube but they couldn’t
or wouldn’t. After a week Larry and I went into a quiet conference
room and started reviewing everything we had ever done that we
thought could help. At one point I said too bad we’re not
working at ground level where I could snap a flip-flop on and off
fast enough. We soon got around to talking about floating a flip-flop
at 1500 volts. Then Larry said he thought that coupling triggers
through a light pipe would work. I felt we had our breakthrough.
Larry designed an insulated box which contained the circuitry and
the tube socket. We delivered the console to system test two weeks
before other subsystems arrived. A missile launch occurred after
the radar was fielded but before it was commissioned. We detected
the splash and while we played back the recorded event we directed
a boat carrying a diver to the spot. He retrieved the nose cone.
The customer told us that the system had paid for itself before
they had accepted it.
In late ’64 I was assigned to a proposal team headed by
John Gitt. Wx was going to team with Chrysler and bid the Main
Battle Tank, a joint USA-Federal Republic of Germany procurement.
John asked me to architect the display and control sub-system.
The tank included radar, sonar, TV and IR sensors. As usual, the
proposal took a lot of effort, but Chrysler was very pleased with
our input. It was required that we had a number of engineers who
spoke technical German and another number of engineers who could
speak conversational German. John and I and others took a Berlitz
course from 4 to 6 PM for a few weeks and learned the language.
Soon after that, the customer wanted the bidders to re-submit new
proposals and Chrysler, feeling that they lost, withdrew from the
competition. This left us with a fine system but no platform to
put it on. We were further disappointed when General Motors and
their partner won. During that time, Jim Beggs had a call from
the CEO of IBM. He wanted us to take responsibility for the digital
display they were proposing for the FAA’s Automated Air Traffic
Control System. Their engineers had been unable to get a model
working as required by the spec. If we agreed to help them they
would also let us manufacture the display processor which they
had designed, built and debugged. When we visited their lab we
found that they really had six consoles, each evaluating a different
subsystem within the display. Besides the significant effort they
still had a long way to go. We learned a lot about how rigid their
management was when designing computer systems and we thought that
limited their engineers when they applied it to displays before
they had a working unit.
We had the most advanced of the prototypes shipped to Baltimore
along with one additional set of subsystems which we assembled
into a single console for evaluation. We soon found that the deflection
system was running out of gas and that the yoke needed to be redesigned
to permit full-scale deflection as well as to provide improved
linearity. IBM had requested more time but their request was denied.
IBM withdrew their bid and once again we were left with a solution
and no problem to solve. Soon after that, at 4 o’clock on
a Friday, Dave B told me that John Gitt, who was now an Underseas
Division Systems engineer, wanted me to define a display and control
system for use on a project they were pursuing. He needed me at
their division near Annapolis the following morning, Saturday at
8am. John held the meeting in a classified area and I got read
in to the program. It was a very comprehensive multi-sensor search
system. Some elements of it are here in the museum. And so I architected
the display and control system which included a dual-display console,
a computer control console and a platform control console. The
widely divergent scan rates of the sensors required scan converters.
Video and tape recorders were added to satisfy mission needs. A
TV camera was required on the platform which was to be towed underwater
at mission depth. All data was to be piped through a compressed
bandwidth channel of the tow cable that ruled out conventional
TV. So I defined the world’s first slow-scan, low light level
TV. Close to midnight that night, the seven of us who were involved
finished our work. The next day, Sunday, we estimated the cost
of the system and on Monday we got the go ahead to start a CPFF
program with a 9 month delivery schedule. It became known as the
Deep Submergence Systems Program, or DSSP.
About when was this?
April of ’65. By now the division had been reorganized.
The four design sections for antenna, transmitter, receiver and
signal processing and our display section reported through Guy
Bias, who reported to Ben Vester and was matrixed to Hagan Jackson.
George Martin now managed systems engineering and Tom Porter managed
programs. Both reported to Jackson who reported to our new GM,
Jim Beggs. All of the hardware that I had specified was booked
through Jackson and I was named the engineering manager. I quickly
decomposed the system and worked with the project engineers I assigned
to the various pieces. Once again I asked Don Scott to design a
family of digital PC cards. His starting point was a family he
designed for us for a proposed display that the Navy never awarded.
The new cards used integrated circuits inside TO-5 cans. They became
our 330 series. Since I only had 11 engineers in my group, I had
to borrow 20 engineers. I assigned the loanees to the project engineers.
Each PE was responsible for the cost, schedule and performance
of his piece. Dave B reviewed everything every Monday and that
gave me much more time to oversee the design. I borrowed Lee Cole
to do the digital design and assigned he and Darryl Braman to Bob
Fowler who was responsible for the display console. After a couple
of technical reviews I knew that they could design rings around
me. Carl Cloninger had the scan converter and Burt Drummond, for
his first project engineering assignment, had the film recorder.
Maurice Hegwood, Bob Curry, Bernie Cataldo and Jan Kaminski had
the computer control and platform control consoles and tape recorder
cabinet and Gerry Schreiber did the LLLTV camera. Gerry and I met
with Jeff Hamby who managed the lunar camera design section. He
brought Larkin Niemeyer and Len Svenson into a meeting with us.
We all soon agreed that the only commonality, again because of
the scan rate, was in the SEC Vidicon that both cameras would use.
When we got back I told Gerry to start the design. He never asked
for help and designed it by himself. The camera slid into a cylinder
thick enough to withstand the mission pressure and worked like
a charm. It was a tremendous technical achievement. Since we had
designed a standard console for the Typhon and Spade programs,
we could quickly release drawings to the shop. We had the latitude
given to a skunk works, so we could build to marked up drawings.
Although we were designing things for the first time our experience
paid off. The designers were able to quickly resolve problems and
release drawings to the model shop who fortunately for us were
not fully loaded. None of our shortcuts affected the quality of
our system. Everything passed inspection by both in-house and customer
reps and was delivered to the full-scale mock-up we were preparing
for system test. The mock-up’s floor plan replicated that
of the former missile hangar on its host vessel, the USS Halibut,
SSN-1. Tony Frezza’s group had written the system software
for the UNIVAC computer that we mounted in our computer control
console. It was debugged in the mock-up as was the platform control
console that we designed and built for our Sunnyvale division.
When we finished our tests, John Gitt conducted customer sell-off.
Years later, the customer was featured in the book “Blind
Man’s Bluff” and Wx was briefly mentioned. The book
included a photo of Jim Bradley being decorated by the Secretary
of the Navy. After retirement as captain of one of our nuclear
submarines, Jim later became the Wx VP of marketing, Europe. After
I started traveling, Jim accompanied me on most of my trips to
NATO countries while he was based in London and Bonn. During all
of the time we spent together, I never knew of his role in the
DSSP area and he never mentioned mine. I never saw mission data
on the displays. I wasn't read in to that need-to-know level of
the program since I was not going to the field. Meanwhile, we had
booked the contract for a second system and started releasing shop
By now, plug-in integrated circuits were available in dual-in-line-packages,
DIP’s. We or other groups had evaluated each type as they
became available. Bob Fowler asked me to replace the logic in both
the display console and the scan converter and I agreed. Our factory
had evaluated an automatic wiring machine which could accept a
300 position planar array and the vendor promised Bob a sample
array of that size. That single array eliminated over 120 printed
circuit cards. It only took me a couple of minutes to convince
John Gitt, but it took two sessions with Dave B. They both trusted
me and I knew how forgiving digital design was. The DSSP was one
of my best ever assignments, mainly because of its legacy. We applied
our double-ended scan converter knowledge and won our first FAA
production contract, the RBDE-6. The 330 family of cards that we
developed were used in the design of both the signal processor
and display for the prototype AN/TPS-43 radar. After Dick Linder
asked me to show him our 300 position planar array, he had Rene
Rosenthal design a 100 position derivative of it which became the
standard for nearly all digital design in most of the Baltimore
divisions. A derivative of the film recorder was developed for
NOAA. It recorded history’s first color photograph of the
Earth transmitted from a satellite in a synchronous orbit. That
photograph was featured on the cover of Aviation Week. We also
derived a film recorder for the Japanese Weather Bureau. But another
later derivative came about when Larry Nix and I were trying to
squeeze more resolution out of a 16 inch CRT than it could provide.
We made a chart of our previous displays and all were lacking except
for the tube used in the film recorder’s flying spot scanner.
We asked our Elmira tube division to package that tube’s
electron gun in the neck of the 16 inch tube and met our needs.
The tape recorders were eventually replaced with a magnetic disc
recorder which our Research Labs developed as an offshoot of what
we had done on the program. Beyond that, their work led to a TV
slow-motion playback mode used in football broadcasts. The display
consoles had applications on several other programs. The displays
on that program marked the first time that side-looking sonar was
meaningfully displayed in real time. Because of its low data rate
it was usually recorded on paper. Bob Fowler designed what he called
a rolling window display. The new data came in the top of the display
and the old data rolled off the bottom, one line at a time. Each
display pictured the previous five minutes of data. Two displays
Right. So you've got two side by side -
Yes. One for each sonar, left looking and right looking. But you
could also call-up other sensors. The platform contained a forward
looking sonar. And the slow-scan TV could be selected. Early system
requirements to display the mother ship’s sensors were not
It was a tremendous system. And it provided more than the significant
legacy I described. From a business standpoint our controller told
me that that program made our department’s numbers for the
year and for part of the following year.
In Jan ’66, a B-52 with four H-bombs aboard collided with
a KC-135 Tanker over Palomares, Spain. Our customer turned us on
for a quick react search system. One of my engineers, Ted Wright,
quickly designed a real time low light level TV camera for the
towed platform for that system. Jack Spangler led Ted and our display
team for that effort, and we added more design expertise to our
section. The 4th H-bomb was located by the Deep Submergence Vehicle,
Alvin, operated by the Woods Hole Institute in their search sector
off the coast of Palomares. In October of ‘66 I was promoted
to Supervisory Engineer.
Where did you go after the Navy DSSP? Are you still working on
Yes. I still had the responsibility for all of the displays I
just mentioned. Based on our prior work on the DSSP, I was asked
to architect the display and control system for the Deep Submergence
Rescue Vehicle. We had provided the display for the Deepstar to
the Underseas Division and they wanted the Special Projects Office
to add the DSRV to our support contract but the SPO awarded the
DSRV to Lockheed and the Control Sphere to MIT’s Instrumentation
Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We proposed the displays to MIT.
Underseas proposed the sonars. Earlier, Guy Bias asked me to transfer
half of my people and their projects over to Frank Reynolds who
was going to join our section. He had supervised the design of
the UPA-48 that we had helped him with earlier. Then, in March
of ’67, Guy asked me to manage the ALCOR Transmitter Program.
It would become part of MIT Lincoln Labs Kwajalein radar. This
C band radar tracks objects in space. The Power Generation Section
recently taken over by Jack Geikler had won it. He requested help
and I was loaned to him. Over the weekend I read the contract,
went over costs to date and read the proposal. I realized what
a novice I was when it came to the design of radar transmitters.
My wife saw me moping around and I finally told her what I was
worried about. She said does that mean you’re going to ask
me to help you design something again? That cracked me up. But
it reminded me that my job was to manage it, not to design it.
At my first Monday review I asked each engineer to describe what
he was doing and where he stood. Hank Hiscox described the transmitter
system. The final pulse amplifier tube socket and some supporting
circuitry were mounted in an 8x16 foot tank 6 feet high and was
driven by cabinet mounted pre-driver and driver amplifiers. A high
voltage power supply and a crowbar to protect the tube completed
the design. One by one the design engineers described their parts
and related it to Hank’s proposed block diagram. The last
block to be covered was the crowbar. Dimensioned sketches and schematics
which augmented pictures of previously designed crowbars were shown.
The designer in this case was a consulting engineer, at least three
management levels above mine. We had never met. He described how
interconnected high voltage vacuum switches through a resistor network
established the discharge path and such. When he stated its shape
and size as a cube whose minimum dimension was 14 feet I started
asking questions related to its size. His answers about spacing
and corona were clear. When he said why are you asking the same
questions, I said I was just looking for an alternative. He said
this is not a display we’re designing here you know. I said
okay, let’s hear from our drafting supervisor and get a financial
summary before we wrap this up, then we’ll reconvene after
lunch. To date, our drafting group had spent all of their funds
on exploratory layouts, none of which were ever used. Also to date,
25% of the engineering allocation had been spent. I told our crowbar
expert that I’d like to talk to him some more and we went
up to his second-floor office. I closed the door and he said what
don’t you understand? I said I read in the proposal last
night that the Army Corps of Engineers will build their standard
12 foot high radar building on Kwajalein and I don’t understand
how you’re going to get a 14 foot anything in there. He said
well that’s not my problem and I said no, I’ll take
it now, it’s mine. Incidentally, have you ever put a crowbar
in oil? The breakdown voltage of the oil has to be high enough
to insulate the tube socket and the crowbar’s needs can’t
be any higher, right? Yes, but no one has ever done that before.
I said we’re going to end that streak. He asked where I had
learned about insulating oil. I said I used to work for a power
company and we stuck a lot of stuff in oil. After lunch I broke
the hardware down into three assignments. Ed Piechowiak got the
pre-driver and driver cabinets, Ray Lees got the HV power supply
which was proposed as a subcontract and Bert Drummond, who had
transferred out of my group a few months earlier, got the tank.
I told Bert that his responsibility also included the crowbar since
it was going in the tank. I asked for PERT schedules and estimates
to complete engineering through in-house test. Guy had scheduled
a meeting with Lincoln Labs for the following week for me to explain
to them why we were going to overrun this CPFF contract. Such meetings
are never pleasant and this was no exception. It was held in an
auditorium about one quarter filled with more than the few people
we expected. It included many engineers and managers, along with
contracts and legal reps and the Deputy Director of the Lab who
introduced me. My trip report included an almost verbatim quote
of his very brief introduction. It ended with, I doubt whether
we and Wx will ever get together on another contract. Fortunately,
that wasn’t the case. Several years later, after I presented
an ARSR-3 paper at an IEEE conference, I sat in the audience and
listened to an ALCOR presentation by an RCA engineering manager.
RCA had the system support contract on Kwajalein. Hughes had designed
the antenna, we had designed the transmitter and MIT had designed
the signal processing and the overall system. After the pitch I
turned when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I heard, “Hi Lou.
It sure sounded like RCA did the whole job by themselves, didn’t
it?” It was the Deputy Director of the Lab who had been sitting
right behind me. I attributed our success on that program to the
team of very competent system and design engineers who had already
been working on the job when I came on to drive the bus.
A few days after we got back, Guy called me in his office and
said that Jackson wanted me to take over the SPTF Transmitter Program.
This was a High Power S-band Transmitter being designed for the
Air Force’s RADC Labs. The transmitter was going to be assembled
inside an 8 foot shelter. The shelter would then be mounted on
the back of the antenna on top of a 60 foot tower. Nearly all of
the subassemblies were built and the model shop was getting ready
to wire the shelter. This was a fixed price contract. When I got
an overall cost report it had less than 100 dollars left before
it hit our sell price. I stopped the job and had our controller
set up a new task structure to accumulate costs in the pipeline
and to provide budgets for remaining work. Then I had all of the
hardware and the empty shelter moved into our antenna building
for final assembly and test. We finished all assembly with one
wireman and one technician then started test with Bruce Boyd, Al
Morse, Fred Popodi and the assigned field engineer, all very competent
engineers. That same week, our VP, Mr. Nick Petrou was on a plane
with his counterpart Dr. W.E. Shoupp, VP of the Wx Research Labs
in Pittsburgh who was chiding him about the already late delivery
of his power supply. On the day he got back Guy told me that Jackson
had given Jim Beggs my name when asked who the program manager
was. He also handed me a copy of the distribution list to which
I was to send a report covering the status of the program. The
list included the five levels of management between me and Bob
Kirby who was now heading the Wx Electronics Corp. The interworks
requisition described a 250KV power supply mounted in a large pressurized
cylinder filled with sulfur-hexafluoride, SF-6, gas, for HV insulation,
and a control console. The system powered an underwater electron
beam welder. Charlie Carter, a fellow engineer, was supported by
Charlie Hooper, an advisory engineer and Ivan Rambo, a consultant
engineer - again, all very competent engineers. I spent a half
a day talking to them to get enough information for a program review
with the customer and for the status report I was going to send
to my very elite distribution list.
Did you have three groups under you, one on each program?
Yes. Each group now had a schedule and spend plan, and we had
weekly reviews every Monday. Everyone was also aware of all contract
billing milestones. The first thing we shipped was our Hot Potato,
the 250KV power supply. I included a one-level PERT chart in my
first report which I updated in each weekly report thereafter.
We bettered our projected delivery date by three weeks. In my final
report I attributed our early finish to the fact that we did not
experience any failures. At Mr. Petrou’s suggestion we sent
Charlie Carter to Pittsburgh to help set up the equipment. I got
thank you notes from Messrs. Petrou and Beggs. I started spending
my time on the other two programs as well as following some projects
and proposals in the display group. About a year later I received
a brochure from our Astronuclear Lab in Pittsburgh depicting their
non-vacuum electron beam welder product line. The 250KV power supply
that our engineers had designed was the heart of their system.
They had done a great job. The system was soon transferred to a
Wx manufacturing plant in Sykesville, Maryland where it became
their cash cow.
So it fed into a completely separate division of Westinghouse?
Yes. It was a commercial division and did not report to the Defense
Center. In the meantime, design of the ALCOR and the assembly of
the SPTF were moving forward. In the case of the SPTF I had traded
time for money by limiting assembly labor to one wireman and one
technician. I did that because I wanted the tech to help us test
the hardware which he would then be very familiar with. The same
was true about the field engineer except I couldn’t have
him assemble or wire anything because he was a non-union employee.
Both transmitters used newly designed klystrons. Our radar expert,
Dr. Peter Ravenhill, was closely following the final assembly and
test of the tubes. Each program had two tubes on order. The tubes,
each the first of their kind, cost over 115 thousand dollars each.
Test of the SPTF hit a snag when a large assembly called the Pulse
Leveler wasn’t doing its job. Fred Popodi was testing from
a position on the side of the shelter. I was there doing a report
because it was 11pm and no one could work alone. My only duty was
to turn the prime power circuit breaker off and on as Fred changed
the location of his scope and high voltage meter probes. I had
just turned it on and was walking back when a large oil-filled
capacitor blew up and spewed most of itself out through the open
door. It immediately reminded me of my first week at Wx. Fred,
whose Austrian accent included rolling his R’s said, “aha,
therrre is the prrroblem.” I turned the breaker off, left
a note for Bruce, had maintenance come in and clean up, then Fred
and I went home. Soon the tube was plugged in and final tests began.
Late one morning, our field engineer came into my cubicle and sat
down. He was almost in tears when he told me that he had accidentally
damaged the tube while changing it to test the spare tube. I asked
him if the system was back on line with the spare running and he
said yes. I said great. I called Pete Ravenhill and asked him to
examine the tube, then contact the vendor and let me know what
our options were. I told the FE to relax and come back after lunch.
Pete called me back and told me that after seeing the damage that
the vacuum seal had been broken, the tube had de-gassed and that
the cathode was probably poisoned, but nothing that Varian couldn’t
repair. He had talked to Varian and told them that we were returning
the tube. I started to breathe normally again. I already knew that
Pete was an expert on both radar and tubes. When I wrote my progress
report I downplayed the incident, and since the repair was covered
under warranty, nobody got too excited. Our FE thanked me many
times after that, mostly with his eyes.
We finished the test and got ready to ship the equipment. The
tube was removed and packaged for shipment and the shelter was
moving toward the loading dock with a flat-bed truck waiting alongside.
Then the manager of the antenna building, Al Melvin, called me
and said you better come out here. When I did, I saw that we had
built a boat in the basement. During shelter mods, a waveguide
flange had been welded to the back of the shelter making it too
wide to go out the door. Al said what now? I said we’ll have
to remove the door to get to the frame which is bolted in and probably
take out one column of blocks. He said we can’t do that.
I said call whoever you want who can, but that truck out there
has to get this to RADC today or we’ll miss a billing milestone.
So we’ve got about two hours to get it lashed down. I had
said the magic words. Within 20 minutes the removal started and
I went back to my desk. An hour later the truck was on its way.
I visited the site after it was installed. It was cold and raining.
Bruce met me in the control room on the ground floor and told me
to keep my raincoat on. We walked up through the inside of the
tower, then through a hatch to an outside platform. There, an exposed
ladder bolted to the outside of the tower was to take us up to
the transmitter. The FE was there finishing up some tasks and soon
the three of us went back down to the control room. When we got
down I told Bruce that that was to be his last trip topside. During
my Navy days I had scooted up and down ladders between decks hundreds
of times. But my view of an over sixty-looks-like-seventy year
old man shakily climbing up and down that ladder was not a pleasant
one. Bruce had one more thrill for me. Part of our test plan included
a test of the Crowbar housed in a large room next to the control
room. It was part of the Special Purpose Test Facility from which
our program got its name. Bruce had asked the customer to schedule
the event and was waiting for the phone call to signal the okay.
Bruce warned me that since this Crowbar operated in air, there
would be a loud bang. The phone call came, Bruce turned on alarms
and pushed a button. The loud boom shook everything and minutes
later when we went in to see the Crowbar dust was settling down
over the components. The Crowbar hadn’t been used for years
allowing quite an accumulation of dust everywhere. My last task
for the program was to ensure that the customer signed off our
test so that we could take it into sales.
Most of my Christmas ’67 vacation was spent in Rome, NY.
Within the next six months the design of the ALCOR was completed
and most of the hardware was ready for test. Again, the antenna
building was the logical place to conduct our final tests. The
tank had already been delivered to that area. Earlier, when our
safety manager learned that we were going to have a large tank
filled with oil he said that we would need a containment plan in
case the tank ruptured. I hadn’t been to the antenna building
since I had them remove the door. When I went in, the first person
I saw was Al Melvin. He said now what? I told him my plan as I
was drawing a sketch. I sketched the tank at the opposite end of
the building, drew a line around the tank and told him that represented
a concrete block wall, two feet high. Then I sketched a holding
tank and pump on a pad outside the building and pipes connecting
the two tanks. My sketch and a charge number is all it took for
him to have the work done. Assembly was completed and tests began
in March. At one point Bert Drummond told me to stand close to
the tank as he pushed a button. When I heard a click, he told me
that he had just triggered the Crowbar. The Crowbar was later patented
and lists Bert as the inventor. System tests were to continue for
the next few months. We had started to prepare our transportation
plan for review by the customer. It was to describe how we were
going to disassemble the system for the flight to Kwajalein then
reassemble and retest it prior to customer acceptance. The field
engineer assigned to the program saved us a lot of effort. He suggested
that each step in the disassembly process be photographed. Then
he would reverse the sequence of photographs for reassembly on
site. This very simple but elegant solution was accepted by the
Contracts, FAA, 2402
In June, we were awarded the contract for the display and control
system for the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle. Guy Bias said he
wanted me back in the display section as Program Manager. We were
awarded a CPFF contract to develop a TV display and a 10 inch round
sector-scan sonar display then deliver 5 suites. Each DSRV required
four TV’s and three sonar displays, and with spares we delivered
45 total displays through MIT to the overall Submarine Prime, Lockheed.
In early December I received a merit increase. It was followed
by another one in early January. Two raises in less than a month.
Both were signed by Guy Bias and H.L. Jackson and cited my assignments
on the four programs. The DSRV Program was the easiest of the four
since I was back in familiar territory. The DSRV was the first
of several programs we worked on, some for in-house programs and
others which we bid and won directly from various agencies. During
my loan, Al Surkovich kept my other projects going. We provided
a scan converter and display for the Seek Skyhook radar. The radar
was reapplied from an Air Arm radar code named Egyptian Goose and
became the first tethered aerostat radar. It was soon followed
by another system using a radar known as Pocket Veto. The aerostats
were produced by T-com.
We then won an improvement program for the FAA’s Radar Bright
Display Equipment, RBDE-4. This was followed by a contract for
a control rack assembly. This display digital processor assembly,
used in an airport tower to control arrivals and departures, was
housed in five cabinets. The display was furnished by the FAA.
The design and manufacturing went smoothly and we moved the equipment
into one of the radar labs for final test and sell-off. I was told
that Mr. Petrou was going to drop in sometime during the test scheduled
for the next morning. That night it rained and a few wet spots
appeared in the ceiling tiles near the equipment. One of the shop
touch-up people hung a large plastic sheet from the ceiling over
the cabinets as a precautionary measure. The test started and I
was off to the side with one of the FAA managers when Messrs. Petrou
and Solomon came in. They both stuck out their hands and introduced
themselves, first to the customer, then to me. After just a few
minutes of small talk, the customer quality manager had a question
for him and waved him over. Mr. Petrou said “Lou, what’s
that plastic hanging over the equipment for?” When I told
him he glanced at H. Solomon who turned and walked out of the lab
for a few minutes. The roof was moved up on the priority list and
A few days after sell-off I was called to Jackson’s office.
It was 10am. He asked me to look into the status of the 2402 computer
that Don Scott’s section was developing for the Canadian
Navy. He wanted my input and recommendations by 4pm. I was familiar
with the program. I carpooled with Darryl Braman who I had borrowed
on the DSSP and was now helping debug the first computer. Harvey
Michalski and Sam Zimmerman were also hard at work on the job.
Harvey later transferred to the East Building and was responsible
for the design of the Wx millicomputer. When it was used on the
harpoon missile I thought about how great it must be to work on
an expendable product. I spent the next two hours talking to the
shop. Then I talked to the engineers. I wrote three pages of notes
and made a mimeograph copy for myself in time for the 4pm meeting.
Don was managing all the technical activities and the overall program.
My first recommendation was to add an experienced program manager
to relieve Don of program duties so he could concentrate on the
technical aspects. In addition to debugging the first unit a group
of people were working on debugging the second computer. The remaining
computers were in various stages of completion. I recommended that
they bring the first computer up to its final configuration then
set up two overlapping test shifts. After the second item Jack
said wait a minute and called his secretary in. He asked her to
have Dick Broden come down. I finished reading the other items
on my list as Dick arrived. Jack handed him his copy of my notes
and after Dick read them he said any questions and Dick said nope.
Jack told him that he would be the program manager starting tomorrow
and that my notes were his preliminary program plan. We left just
before Jack’s next meeting at 4:30.
FAA Scan Converter Program
Okay, so you finished those programs, you’re now a design
supervisor and you’re up to the FAA Scan Converter Program.
Yes. The request for proposals was issued to supplement the equipment
being used by the FAA for enroute air traffic control. The contractor
for the replacement digital equipment was so late that the FAA
had to buy over 130 more of the existing design. The same company,
Raytheon, was supplying both systems and the FAA couldn’t
deal with the potential conflicts if they awarded a contract to
a company because they were late on its replacement. Marketing
learned that ITT and Bendix were going to bid. The equipment was
not as complex as what we delivered to the Navy DSSP but the contract
required development at a firm fixed price. I recommended that
we no-bid. An FAA manager came to Wx and asked that we reconsider
and I was asked to look at it again. Since the FAA had not responded
to our requested change to a CPFF front end to the contract, I
again recommended that we no-bid. The FAA then contacted Pittsburgh.
As a result, Jackson said we want you to bid this job and we want
you to win it. Our top management decided we were getting into
the FAA business and this was going to be our entry. We won the
job with the lowest bid, 0.1% below our nearest competitor, Bendix.
We had a victory party and soon John White, who reported to Tom
Porter, was named PM.
I could write a book about this program, but I’ll give one
example of how it changed our culture. We built a breadboard of
the equipment then transferred as much hardware as we could to
an advanced breadboard which would be our baseline. We also built
a deliverable pre-production unit to prove our manufacturing drawings.
Production release was dependent on successfully passing first
piece inspection. For our military programs, our quality department
presented each first piece to resident customer reps AFPRO or NAVPRO.
The FAA had their own rep, Ed M, in residence. I was asked to attend
our first submittal which was a printed circuit card. The card,
along with its manufacturing drawings and test data were laid out
on the conference room table. All entries on the control tag were
stamped. Ed looked over the documents, examined the card, and said
this is by far the best first piece of hardware ever submitted
to me. Then he asked John White where the purchased part drawings,
the reliability data and a technical description of the card were.
John said that will come later out of our parts, reliability and
tech pubs departments. Before Ed looked at me I knew why I had
been invited to the meeting. He said, where do they all get their
inputs from? I said from design engineering. We use a PPD request
which FAA has to approve for parts drawings. Our reliability and
maintainability engineers use those parts lists to calculate MTBF’s
and MTTR’s and suggested spares provisioning. Tech writers
use that schematic to describe the card’s function for the
instruction book. All departments are included on revision notices
when changes are made. He told John that all of that information
had to be submitted with this and all future first piece hardware
submittals and granted conditional acceptance of our first submittal.
Most of these tasks were reviewed by engineering during the manufacturing
cycle and represented an additional burden to us during design,
but we complied. We uncovered some problems through the process
so it turned out to be helpful. The best thing I can say about
that program is that we survived it.
Soon after de-bugging our pre-production model, I received a call
from our Manager of Security. He asked me to join him and a visitor
in a secure conference room near the lobby of our central building.
There I met a USAF Captain. Our security manager confirmed to him
that I held a top secret clearance then left. Then I was read into
a planned mission. He told me that I would be the only engineer
cleared and that a contracts rep and one Wx executive would be
read in. The Captain said that within the coming week we would
receive a contract with a DX-A2 priority authorizing the release
of our pre-prod equipment to the USAF for one month. He described
the contract terms and conditions, how we would be funded, general
instructions and the spec for packaging the equipment for overseas
shipment. I asked if our support was needed and he said no - the
team would modify and operate the equipment. What do I tell the
customer’s in-house reps? He said their management will tell
them. He thanked me and left. I never saw him again. As I walked
back to my cubicle I didn’t even wonder if this Captain could
pull this off because of what we had done on the DSSP which also
had that priority. The next day I had my answer. A courier had
delivered the contract to our security station. The customer rep
told me that his manager told him that our pre-prod was not going
to be available for a month. Whoever our executive manager was
passed the word through our management chains to me and our program
manager. We had three days to package the equipment when the truck
arrived for the short trip to their cargo plane waiting at the
airport. Within a month they returned it. The customer thanked
us and amply rewarded us. This helped minimize the overrun we were
heading for. Years later I received a de-classified report that
described the positive results that an agency had achieved with
a system in Turkey used for monitoring some activity north of the
Meanwhile, the FAA program had attained high visibility status.
Once a month the program manager had a face-to-face review with
Mr. Petrou. At one point during his absence for a month I sat in
for him. At the time most of the issues were smoothed out and our
pre-prod had passed all environmental tests which permitted release
of the first production lot. Just prior to that we won our second
FAA production contract, this time for 200 22-inch diameter displays.
I was program manager and Mr. Petrou was as interested in that
program as he was in the scan converter program. So at two reviews
we discussed both programs. Before we bid this job I visited the
FAA’s enroute Air Traffic Control Center at Leesburg, VA.
The displays were provided by Raytheon and again they were not
bidding. I sat at a display, watched controllers and talked to
a few of them. I found out what they didn’t like about the
displays. First, they ran very hot. The input cooling air intake
was in the rear and the hot air exhausted in the front right at
the operator’s shins. It was so hot that most operators used
cardboard to deflect the hot air. This in turn caused overheating
and many failures. Second, they ran very loudly and third, they
were unreliable and failed frequently. The spec to which we bid
addressed each of those issues. The display had to be tested to
an MTBF of 2000 hours, exhaust through front vents was not permitted
and a noise level limit of 95 dBa was imposed. Our engineers did
great work on that display. The console was made from two aluminum
castings, a base and a hinged top. The CRT and yoke were mounted
inside the magnetic shield fortified to mount directly into the
console. The video amplifier assembly was a small pc card which
included the tube socket and mounted directly on the tube. All
remaining circuitry, including power supply regulators, was mounted
on two large plug-in PC cards, accessible from the top when opened.
The cards were to be tested on a bed-of-nails automatic test set
in our Air Arm Division. There was no fan in the unit. Everything
went smoothly and our shop was quickly turning out the units.
Before we moved into our reliability demonstration phase I met
with our manufacturing manager, Leo Chism. I told him that I would
like to shorten the test time and asked him to loan us an area
in the factory and provide 20 drop cords each equipped with a rheostat.
The only stress test the spec called for was that due to line variations
which we could simulate with the rheostats. We roped off the area
and moved in 20 displays. Display stability was tested each hour
by measuring any drift between a generated pattern and an overlay.
The design was solid. We started the test on a Friday at 10am and
ran the test until Tuesday at 4. We turned off the displays and
moved them to the shipping department. We passed the test in 100
hours. Our engineers had designed a great display. As a result,
Ben Vester asked Tom Porter if he and I would brief some east building
engineers. I would review how we cost reduced the design and Tom
would quantify the resultant cost savings added to our division’s
bottom line. Tom asked which engineers and Ben said all of them.
We covered them all in four sessions which included their supervisors
and managers. We were politely received as expected. Later, Tom
told Ben that his engineers were very interested when I described
how I had de-composed the display requirements and how we had driven
out a compliant design. But he felt that his part fell on deaf
ears except for a few of the senior people at the meetings. On
the way back I told Tom that many, if not most, of the design engineers
I had come across didn’t care a lot about spending other
people’s money. Occasionally over the next few years a few
of the attendees told me that they remembered our visit. Many of
the engineers in my group worked on the two FAA programs.
In the meantime, our division had booked several TPS-43 radar
contracts. Following the two prototypes, 17 were booked for the
USAF and four for Israel. Each radar set included the PPI monitor
we had designed for the prototype. These early radars were accompanied
by shelters which included UPA-48 displays, the IFF interrogator,
radios and phone communications needed to support manual tactical
air defense. When we booked a three lot for Greece, Jackson peeled
off profit dollars and asked us to develop a new general purpose
PPI for the Greek program and future TADS. Its assigned nomenclature
was AN/UPA-62. We assigned the project to Al Surkovich. He and
his team designed a masterpiece. It was to become one of the finest
pieces of equipment ever designed in the display section and most
likely in our department. The display used the 16-inch high resolution
CRT that Larry Nix and I brought on line, included a track ball,
a digital target extractor and the capability to track 1000 targets.
A far cry from our early displays at Parker Road. Al was personally
involved from inception through production test. No detail escaped
his attention. He set a new standard for engineering support to
all departments. The display was used with all subsequent sales
of the TPS-43 and for several other ground based and shipborne
radars. A total of 950 were built, most at our facility in Puerto
Rico where it became a cash cow. The tax policy covering that facility
also improved the division’s bottom line. Jackson wanted
Al to demonstrate the display at the Paris Air Show as a reward
for his remarkable effort. The UPA-62 was replaced by the AN/UYQ-27.
It employed many more integrated circuits, we added an ASCII keyboard,
an alphanumeric generator and a vector generator so that intercept
problems could be solved on the display when the radar site was
used as an air defense node.
ADS-4, Proposal Work
During this time period our display section was combined with
the Air Arm group responsible for airborne displays. The combined
group was managed by Jeff Hamby. Our next task was the design of
the AWACS ECCM display. We assigned Sal Cuomo as the project engineer.
It was a derivative of the UPA-62. Al and Ted Wright architected
the system and Ted designed most of the hardware. Soon after that
we received the RFP for the FAA’s ARSR-3 Radar. A CPFF contract
for a prototype radar was issued, Dick Linder was the proposal
manager, and I was picked as a member of the team along with Morris
Tamres, Charlie Burns, Ed Piechowiak, Dick Schurmann, and Guntis
Brunins. Each of us represented our functional areas. When I told
Dick that the display requirements were very simple and Al Surkovich
could address them with a stripped down version of the UPA-62 he
said okay, but you are the only one on the team with any FAA experience
so I want you and Guntis to break down the spec and hand down the
requirements for the whole system. We knew this was a must win
and we got all the support we needed. Guntis coordinated all of
the systems engineering inputs, mainly from John Taylor and Coleman
Miller, and I coordinated the design engineering through the people
I just mentioned. I was assigned the technical volume and later
Guntis, Al and I read and edited all of the remaining volumes.
We won the contract in late ’73. Dick Linder had taken over
the equipment design engineering department, I was promoted to
an A-level manager and assigned as engineering manager of the ARSR-3
radar reporting to him. I met with him nearly every day. I was
a morning person so I'd often be at work at 7am, but my meetings
with him would be between 5 and 7pm. Every day for most of three
months I'd go over what we were doing that day on the radar and
getting as much guidance as I needed. Additionally, he was teaching
me a lot about radar.
Fortunately for me in early ’74, I was a lot more independent
because along with being the engineering manager of the ARSR-3,
I was assigned as engineering manager of the ADS-4, the Iranian
Air Defense System. That program, along with a lot of foresight
from Linder and Jackson resulted in some first time developments
for us. As we broke down the requirements, we planned to use the
ARSR-3 prototype antenna and transmitter designs in the ADS-4 search
radar. The solid-state modulator was applied to the nodding beam
height finding radar. It would become the world’s first HFR
with a solid-state modulator. The UPA-62 displays were an integral
part of the system. After we broke down the communications requirements
we looked at telephone and radio needs for an operator in typical
air traffic control and air defense scenarios. Each operator had
a telephone and a radio control panel and headset. At that time
that was the accepted communications method and we had applied
it in our TADS shelters. But as the number of operators increases,
so too does the number of cables and connectors. When I showed
the data to Dick he said we needed to simplify things. He had heard
about time division multiplexing, TDM, and suggested that as an
alternative. We had our communications and digital people from
the section which Dick formerly managed put together an approach.
Their analysis showed that the recurring cost of the replacement
system was lower and the savings over eight systems covered the
non-recurring costs. Dick set a meeting with Jackson, I briefed
him and he said he liked the idea. He looked at me and said see
if you can get the program manager to agree, and I did. It became
the world’s first TDM system which combined all telephone
and radio activities throughout the system through a single headset.
And when we did that we got rid of a lot of wires and cables.
These two programs were really the pre-cursor to the ARSR-3 production
program. The FAA released the RFP and it covered what we expected.
It covered 22 fixed station dual-channel and three mobile single-channel
systems. The contract would be firm fixed price and compliant with
all of the specifications we met on our scan converter and display
programs. I managed the proposal which required seven volumes cross-referenced
to the specs. But the most important part of the bid was our cost
proposal which Dick Linder managed. He isolated Dick Schurmann
and had him create a straw man cost for the competitor he picked
to beat, Texas Instruments. We were happy to win and beat GE, Raytheon,
Hughes, Bendix and T.I., the next closest bidder by a very narrow
margin. Our first task after winning the contract was to reconfigure
the system using the value engineering change proposal process.
At Dick’s request, we had prepared a list of potential changes
during the proposal phase. The first proposal changed the specified
packaging of the radar from five 12x40 foot mobile trailers to
a single building. A second proposal described the implementation
of all digital design with our standard planar array rather than
with the small size printed boards specified. In all we submitted
seven VECPs. I briefed six of them and Rene Rosenthal briefed the
digital planar array proposal. All were accepted and savings were
considered profit. Guntis Brunins rewrote the spec encompassing
all of the changes and gained customer approval.
I continued my assignment as engineering manager by issuing a
directive which encompassed what we learned on our previous FAA
contracts. The directive defined all of the items that each design
engineer needed to include in his design specification. It went
beyond the items in the engineering manual and included all data
that other departments would need to meet their requirements. The
major difference was that I requested it up front while the design
was still fresh in the designer’s mind. Dick wanted a design-to-cost
approach and had me develop cost targets. Therefore each D-spec
included the projected production cost of the design. Dick arranged
for a buyer, a manufacturing estimator and a cost accountant to
share a cubicle in our program area. We prepared a detailed schedule
for the radar, top-down to the lowest replaceable unit. Progress
was color coded. I arranged for Fred Popodi to review all analog
designs and Sam Zimmerman to review all digital designs prior to
my sign-off and submittal to drafting. During a cost review of
the signal processor, the top cost driver was found to be the wired
drawer assembly. This was due to all of the wiring to and from
all of the front panel switches specified. I pointed this out to
the design group for at least three weeks in a row. Then it moved
far down the list and I found out that the design engineer had
replaced all of the mechanical switches with light activated digital
switches. The switches were activated by an infrared light wand
through a filter making it impervious to ambient light. Each switch
had an address in the TDM Loop which tied everything together.
I thought it was a very innovative approach and asked what motivated
him to come up with such a classy solution. He said they got tired
of me bringing it up every week. The design moved smoothly. Dick
really fortified what I had learned from Dave Balthis about paying
attention to details. He would often say there’s no substitute
for visibility. Because of the visibility I was getting in response
to my design directive, I told Dick that I wasn’t concerned
about passing either our environmental or reliability tests. That
statement came back to haunt us when the radar was tested to an
MTBF of many more than the required 1500 hours and we weren’t
going to share in the future savings.
Did you travel to Iran as part of this?
No, I’ve never been to Iran. I didn't start international[ly]
traveling for the company until about 1980. But the ADS-4 opened
the door for us. Many Iranians visited and were trained while we
were designing their air defense system. Later, in addition to
our support team, many Westinghouse people were helping put Iran
into a lot of businesses. Just before things crumbled, Dick asked
me to put together a proposal aimed at putting them in the radar
business. Gary Evans drew our concept for a cylindrical array air
traffic control radar. Dick delivered the proposal and pitched
it to the customer, Admiral Aboul Ardalon. When Dick got back he
was optimistic. Then the Iran we knew disappeared and Harry Smith
sent a plane to Iran for our people and their families.
Right, I've heard that story.
A lot of Iranians managed to escape with their families. Admiral
Ardalon was one who did and came to work in our Air Defense Systems
Programs Department. He also, as Dr. Ardalon, taught at the University
Generation Section, Laser Pulsar, FAA and Lincoln Labs
Now it’s early ’74 and you're engineering manager
of these two programs.
Yes, until November 1st when I was promoted to a B-level manager
and took over the Power Generation Section which I had been loaned
to seven years earlier.
So about how big an operation was this? How many people?
About 75 design engineers in five groups. The section was responsible
for the design of radar and communications transmitters, radio
frequency generators, laser pulsars, inductive components, power
supplies, filters and microwave integrated circuits, MICs. These
were manufactured in the MIC Lab which I also managed along with
its 15 people. Most of the section was heavily involved in the
design or follow of these elements for the ARSR-3 and ADS-4, but
the first program I had to address was an NRL contract for the
delivery of L-band power modules. This program had been booked
through Dr. Paul Pan who also managed IR&D funds for the center.
The supervisor who booked the job was one of the best at winning
development programs that I ever managed - the world’s first
solid-state L-band power amplifier was won by Bob Gardenghi. When
I reviewed the program I could see it was heading for an overrun.
Our only hope of avoiding it was to book an order for spares before
we closed down the line. The next day I went to Bob’s program
review with Dr. Pan. It was a short meeting but I knew before it
ended that Bob had just about broken his pick. I was asked to stay
and listened while Dr. Pan vented his spleen. Then I told him that
I thought we had a recovery plan if he would allow us to combine
the spares order with the basic contract. He quickly agreed and
said he was glad I was taking over the section. When I got back
I told Bob that I would be his interface with Dr.Pan. I told the
design engineer Ken Lee that he was now going to be the project
engineer. In short, the project became a technical and financial
success. Ken Lee did a great job finishing this job during which
he had to help solve device problems the vendor was having.
Solving vendor problems got to be a habit in our early days but
Ken and Al Morse and Ted Foster, whose group designed our RF modules,
never let them slow us down. Ted was also one of the most intelligent
engineers I ever managed. On top of that he was a hands-on PHD.
In addition to the early work I just described, Bob was responsible
for selling the first solid-state modulator which used a gated
silicon controlled rectifier invented by our Youngwood Division.
He later led the proposal and won a contract from the Air Force
Weapons Lab for a high power laser pulsar. The CPFF contract included
funds for Youngwood to increase the device to the size of a hockey
puck for a higher power output. Simultaneously, the AFWL had awarded
a contract to RCA which applied silicon controlled rectifiers which
they designed and manufactured. Soon after I took over the section,
Ed Hooper, who was the project engineer, was ready to demonstrate
the unit. It passed its tests and was packed and shipped. The pulsar
was delivered early and a lot of money was left unspent. This was
practically unheard of but the customer was happy. We were already
sure that we were going to blow RCA away and win the next phase
and having a happy customer wasn’t bad. Two weeks later the
customer called and asked me to visit the labs. When I asked if
he wanted me to bring anyone he said no, he just wanted to discuss
the next phase with me. So I flew to Albuquerque on a Thursday.
The next morning I met the Colonel whose section managed the program.
He told me that his orders were to transfer our remaining funds
to RCA who had submitted a request for funds to cover an overrun.
He told me that the RCA request was just one of a number of requests
from other contractors and the command had to make some moves they
didn’t like. When I asked why they just didn’t cancel
the RCA contract and let us start phase two, he said they did cancel
other contracts but we gave them some breathing room and that some
of their programs, including our hoped for phase two, might not
happen. He told me that everyone who saw the equipment was very
complimentary then told me how sorry he was. When he asked for
my comments, I said Colonel, we just made a full fee on a program
that we under-ran, delivered early and we met your every contract
requirement. Those words usually describe a winner. I usually write
a closing report on jobs that I complete. I’m going to give
this one a subtitle and call it A New Way to Lose. I had some time
before my flight back so he took me on a short tour of the lab.
During lunch at the Officer’s Club I told him I had thought
of another potential title, My AWFL Experience. When I got back
I told Dick Linder to forget about phase two as an objective for
1975. Dick was a strong believer in Management by Objectives. That
was his style when he managed the Receiver/Signal Processor Section
and when he took over the department he brought it with him. Each
section manager’s list of objectives included those obvious
to the support of in-house programs. An additional objective stated
the total value of hardware development and study contracts we
were expected to book. A final category covered professional objectives
such as patent disclosures and papers published. Obviously Dick
tied performance against objectives to his management merit plan.
There never was a phase two laser pulsar but the ARSR-3 transmitter
modulator became the first of many opportunities to apply the device
and we capitalized on every one of them.
By June of 1974 the ARSR-3 had been tested to an MTBF of 1500
hours which was unheard of at that time. But when 1500 hours was
reached, Jackson wanted to let the test continue, and so it did.
During the added time, many visitors came to see the system. When
Mr. Petrou was scheduled to visit, Jackson called me and asked
me to be there. The test was being conducted at our antenna range.
When Mr. Petrou arrived I was standing to one side and he nodded
to me. The program manager briefed him and he congratulated everyone.
Before he left he walked over to me and we shook hands. He said, “good
job Lou. How much did all of this extra reliability cost you in
engineering?” Before I answered him I paused. I remembered
reading that someone answered a similar question by saying that
improved reliability was a natural fallout of the design process
and therefore free. I told him that I haven’t figured it
out yet and that Dick and I were still trying to figure out how
to get a part of the tremendous savings the FAA was going to achieve
because of this higher reliability. Then he smiled and said, “keep
working on it. I just read where some idiot said it came for nothing.” That
was the last time I ever talked to him. The ARSR-3 led the FAA
to specifying unattended radars in future contracts.
Meanwhile the NRL module became part of their unattended satellite communication
system, White Cloud, and the first operational application of our
solid-state microwave technology. When Dick and I showed the module
to Jackson he was very interested. The module power of around 110
watts was too little. We soon decided to develop a 500 watt module
as a basic building block. We tailored the design to the thick
film capabilities of the MIC lab. Our objective was to combine
ten modules into a chassis which included an inverter power supply.
We soon won an RADC contract to develop a ten KW UHF amplifier
which we achieved by combining ten 1KW modules. This contract proved
that our fundamental design concepts were sound. We developed a
T/R module, also at UHF for NADC. Then MIT Lincoln Labs released
an RFP for a 5KW L-band power module. It was to be part of the
radar they were designing for a remotely piloted vehicle, RPV,
that had been funded by a government agency. The system required
a much longer pulse than we had been working with so there was
not much we could carry forward. MIT told us that we turned in
an excellent proposal but our costs were higher than the other
bidder, GE. That was a tough loss. And losing to GE made it a lot
tougher. But about 8 months later, I got a call from Lincoln’s
program manager. He said “Lou, will you guys still do the
job for us at the price you quoted?” I said yes. Because
of the classification of the program we could never get any information
about the status of the program after we lost it. But GE defaulted.
Lincoln gave us the rest of the money and GE had to put up the
difference. I hoped that would never happen to me, and it never
did. We designed a great unit. We satisfied Lincoln Labs and they
thanked us. That program put us out front for some time.
Range Radar and Iran, Proposal Writing
In ’75, Jack Tymann was managing much of our business in
Iran. He met with Dick and I and laid out the strategy for an RFP
that was soon to be issued by the USAF for a long range radar.
Iran was targeted as the first application for this radar because
they were going to fund the program even though our ADS-4 radars
would cover their needs. Every radar competitor we had saw this
as an opportunity to penetrate the very strong position we were
in which had all started with Jackson booking the ADS-4. We had
to win this job to kill the competition. Jack added we would lose
confidence with the customer as well as a lot of additional business
we were pursuing if we didn’t. If it came to that, Jack would
have to convince the customer to kill the requirement, but only
if it did not damage our relationship with the USAF. I was assigned
to manage the proposal. We decided that it would be our first modular
proposal. The ADS-4 radar site was at the top of Karadj Mountain
and some early tests in conjunction with one of our TPS-43s at
a much lower elevation permitted us to demonstrate the performance
of the radars due to anomalous propagation or ducting. Our system
engineers had sent us display photos which showed how well our
processors handled second time around echoes and more. They once
identified fourth time around echoes as those from the Spanish
Alps. We made that an element of our win strategy. As it turned
out, one of the USAF organizations we shared that information with
was issuing the RFP for this radar. I borrowed Guntis Brunins again
and we set up the outline. All proposal inputs came from the supervisors
in each section. Our systems engineering consultant, John Taylor,
wrote the modules covering weather performance and performance
in ducting. Guntis and I had very little trouble fitting the write-ups
into the 100 page limited proposal specified in the RFP. We met
our objectives. We soon received the RFP for the AN/TPS-63 and
its dual version, the AN-TPS-65. This L-band system would become
the 2D tactical radar for the U.S. Marines.
The transmitter we proposed used a 5 KW Traveling Wave Tube, TWT,
to drive a 60 KW cross-field amplifier, CFA. Additionally we proposed
the frequency generator and the power supplies. Dick was managing
the proposal. I had read and edited all of our inputs and after
I turned them in he said he would like me to help him edit the
rest of the technical volume. He also asked me to borrow Guntis
to review all of the trade studies specified in the RFP. Earlier,
Dick introduced me to Peter Swerling who he had brought on the
proposal team to provide the trade study dealing with target radar
cross-section. John Taylor wrote the weather trade study. I told
Guntis that his career had risen to new heights since he was going
to review the work of the person who introduced the models, named
after himself, that he would be analyzing. We finished on a Friday
but before I left Dick handed me a stack of draft appendices. These
were mandatory plans covering reliability, maintainability, manufacturability
and quality. When I asked when he needed them he said Monday. I
spent most of my weekend on that task. By noon Monday he had the
new draft copies. He called me and said that he wanted them reviewed
by the managers whose people submitted the original plans and then
resubmit. Two of them quickly agreed. The third told me to give
it back to the person who wrote it. I said no, you read both versions
then decide which one to turn in. If you stick with your original
cut and paste version, make sure you delete those references to
how great a job your department is going to do for the Air Force
and tailor this plan to the U.S. Marines. We won the program and
Jackson almost immediately targeted the TWT driver for replacement.
Radar, Power Supplies
The combination of Jackson and Linder started driving us into
the solid-state RF power business and we booked some great development
programs before we replaced the TWT. Most notably, we designed
and built the transmitter modules for the SeaSat program which
our Space Division was doing for JPL. A few minor component changes
were all it took to space qualify the hardware. The modules were
later used in the space shuttle’s LandSat radar. We also
developed our part of the AN-SPS-58 as the U.S. Navy’s Point
Defense Radar. While our program group was testing the radar, whose
range was twenty miles, Jackson called and asked if I could play
that radar through one of our FAA Scan Converters onto a 22-inch
horizontal display. I asked my former group to modify their breadboard
and move it [to] a display down the hall to the radar lab. As usual,
we had to blank radiation sectors which would cause interference
with the radars at the airport and with other nearby agencies.
So when they set up the equipment I told them to offset the display
so the blanked portion was off the screen. When Jackson saw the
demo he smiled, said thanks and left. He could look out the window
and see a plane landing then look at the display and see its raw
radar return. It was the size of a golf ball. He had been thinking
about applications of the scan converters, but that one didn’t
Meanwhile, Ray Smith’s power supply group was designing
the power supplies for the 616A Survivable Communications System.
This program was in Art Monheit’s department along with the
Navy programs that were transferred to him by our new GM, Maurice
Ani. One day, Dick said Jackson wanted to see us. He said he was
tired hearing about all of the power supply problems we were having
across the board. At the time we were buying most power supplies
outside. We often helped solve vendor problems. Then he said there's
a place down on Howard Street in Baltimore that we're trying to
set up. I want you to put them in the power supply business. And
I said okay. Two things I had learned about Jackson, he never wasted
money and never wasted words. We had designed a conventional 616A
power supply to deliver raw DC to the inverter supplies which were
to be mounted in the receiver chassis. We were still waiting for
the final requirements for the receiver power supply. Over 350
were needed. On my first visit to Howard Street I met Pete Bishop,
an East Building Manufacturing Manager. He had been advising the
facility manager, Irv Thompson. After a quick tour I was asked
what I thought. I said I thought they released the wrong product
to them. They did a great job on the printed card assembly but
they haven’t been sufficiently trained in wiring and cabling.
They need some help with their test station. This is an Air Force
Program and AFPRO will never sign off on this. Also, I don’t
think they can find a lot of stuff in their disorganized storeroom.
I was getting ready to leave and talked to Pete privately. I asked
him what the story was. I didn’t have to tell him anything
about manufacturing. He told me that he couldn’t find too
many people interested in getting them up and running. I said well,
I’ve got a different set of marching orders. I’ll have
an engineer help it through test. Ray had assigned the receiver
power supply to Howard Ginsburg and I met with them both that afternoon.
I told them that we needed to design a power supply that would
match the capabilities of the people who were going to be building
it. They are very good at assembling printed circuit cards and
not so good with wiring and cables. So see if you can design it
on PC cards with no wires. Then I asked Ray to assign someone to
design a test set to test the power supply. The next time I saw
Howard he showed me a four inch square, one inch thick sandwich
sized assembly of two PC cards facing each other. The cards were
interconnected with a flexible printed cable. The assembly was
designed to plug into the receiver drawer. And when I finally saw
the test set, a tester at Howard Street was demonstrating it to
our manufacturing and test managers, Jackson, and myself. Our design
engineer had it built at Howard Street. It had more bells and whistles
than I thought it would, but he later told me he thought it would
be better for the users. It was better than anything in our test
department. When Jackson saw it he was impressed. He said to Leo
Chism, “you did a good job on this and you should have
one in our factory that can test RF Modules. We’re going
to need plenty of them in the future.” After the meeting
Leo asked me to bring his test manager up to speed.
Hawk Digital Processor,
Soon after that, our processor group won the production contract
for the Hawk Digital Processor.
The Hawk Missile?
No. The processor was for the Precision Approach Radar which was
part of the Hawk System. It was basically a digital MTI processor
with I and Q four pulse cancellers. We applied this approach to
the Iranian Search Radar that I talked about earlier. This job
was a thorn in Raytheon’s side because Dick had sold this
program directly to the Army. Dick told me that it had taken over
seven years to get this production contract. We were going to design
the multilevel power supply for the processor. Before we started,
Dick was walking past my office one afternoon and stopped in for
less than a minute. He said Lou, I’d like you to put something
proprietary in the power supply you’re doing for the Hawk.
I said Dick, It’s a power supply. He said yeah I know, but
figure something out. On my way home I thought about the last power
supply design I had reviewed and signed-off. At the time, we were
using microcircuit regulators in TO-5 packages. All of the components
including power output transistors and their heat sinks were mounted
on plug-in PC cards. Inductive components were chassis mounted.
I couldn’t think about anything I reviewed that could be
made proprietary. Then I started thinking about the last proprietary
drawing I had signed and I knew immediately what to do. Part of
my responsibility included management of Mike Kline’s Microwave
Integrated Circuits Lab. Our RF power modules were mounted on thick
film substrates which formed the basis of our hybrid circuits designs.
This lab was supervised by Ted Foster who was also responsible
for the design of all of our RF power modules and all of our processes
The next day I met with Ray Smith and Ted and drew a sketch of
what I had thought about and they took it from there. As a result,
our Hawk regulators were mounted on a two inch square thick film
substrate which was assembled inside an aluminum housing, one-quarter
inch high. The regulators were mounted upside down on the substrate,
a few chip and discrete components were used then all interconnects
and remaining components were printed. It was a great package.
Later, Jackson asked me to put together a priced list of equipment
that we used to manufacture the regulators. He told me that a Dutch
company wanted to co-produce the Hawk DSP for some of our NATO
orders. The equipment cost 15 thousand dollars. When he asked what
I thought was a fair price for the data rights I told him I hadn’t
the slightest idea but if it were an RF module, I would start at
ten million. So the power supply regulators should start at around
50K. I don’t know the price he settled for and never asked.
But about eight months later the Dutch company placed an order
for over 200 regulators. They decided to quit trying to co-produce
them in Holland. During that period, we won the contract to provide
8 L-band ATC radars for Canada. Although these were short range
ASR’s for use at airports, the Canadians did not follow the
US FAA’s history of using S-band at terminals. If they had,
we probably would not have bid against the US incumbent, T.I. But
we considered L-band our radar frequency domain and didn’t
want the ARSR-3 losers back in the game. We designed the transmitter
frequency generator and all of the power supplies for the radar
system. Earlier, we were awarded the production contract for 57
TPS-43E radars but this version did not require many changes to
our parts of the system and supported just a few engineers since
the major change was in modernizing the signal processor.
Our programs group booked a classified program known simply as
RFN, Radar for Navy. It was managed by Dick Fowlie and we did the
transmitter and our other usual subsystems. I first met Dick after
Guy Bias asked me to look into the status of equipment we had developed
for NASA’s tracking radar at Wallop’s Island. That
was when I first met Guntis Brunins who was debugging the receiver
and Tony Krauth who was debugging the signal processor. They were
also trying to write the acceptance test spec in their spare time
and deal with customer concerns which were forcing them to re-work
some areas. I told the engineers to focus on the hardware and worked
with the customer to sort out some interface issues. Some of the
open items were NASA’s responsibility and some belonged to
the original equipment manufacturer, RCA. When I got back I told
Guy that the engineers didn’t need any help but the program
needed a leader who could finish the acceptance spec, deal with
the customer and sell it off. That leader became Dick Fowlie. We
also designed a family of transmitters which shared as much circuitry,
power supplies and control functions as practical. This hardware
was developed for our Product Quality Lab and used to evaluate
the ECM pods being designed in the East Building. The AWACS was
experiencing high voltage transmitter problems and we built a corona
test set at Johnnie Pearson’s request. We serviced another
walk-in request, this time from Ben Vester, to test a system suffering
from environmental problems. It was delivered to our lab. I assigned
Roy Anderson to evaluate this system which was packaged in several
chassis and cabinets. During that week he tested the equipment,
designed and added the required modifications. Then the equipment
was gone. Roy and I did not need to know what or who the system
In the middle of 1978. Dick Linder moved to the East Building
where he took over the Electronic Warfare Department. In September,
I was promoted to a C-level manager and named Manager of the Equipment
Design Engineering Department. Cal Jones managed the Antenna, Microwave
and Facilities Section, Wally Hoff managed the Receiver and Signal
Processing Section, Ted Foster managed the Power Generation Section
and Fred Timmel managed the Display Section. The position included
management of drafting, the engineering vault, technicians, seven
labs, the Hybrid Circuits or Thick Film Lab, and clerical personnel.
And in November I was promoted to the D-level Corporate Grade Position.
This was a great position. Dick had it running like a well-oiled
machine and I also had inherited his deputy, Tom Tomlinson, to
help me through what became a seamless transition. Dave Balthis
was working with Tom and replaced him when he moved to the East
Building with Ray Robely. Tom was one of the principal unsung heroes
who guided my career. In my new role, I could focus on managing
the design engineering function while he took care of everything
else. On the day I took over the job, my first visitor was Cal
Jones, manager of our antenna and microwave section. Cal’s
section had scored one of our greatest wins, the Ultra Low Side-lobe
Antenna, ULSA, for the TPS-43. During a review of antenna patterns,
someone in the customer community had convinced their top management
that the antenna design was flawed due to the presence of an anomalous
lobe. The customer wanted Cal’s manager, now me, to meet
with the top management at RADC and answer the show cause letter
we had received and convince them not to cancel the contract. Cal
told me that he and Gary Evans had already started Coleman Miller
working [on] the problem and a briefing was underway. Cal arranged
for Gary and I to attend the meeting. Gary would give the pitch.
I had worked at Wx for over 20 years and never saw a threesome
like them. Gary was a hands-on PhD genius who greatly respected
Coleman Miller’s inputs. I felt that Coleman was a genius
as well. Cal was very fortunate to have their support until he
retired. Gary gave a masterful briefing as usual. The customer
understood our reply and withdrew his letter. The program continued
and became one of our greatest successes.
Air Defense Program, Section Workloads in 1979
Then, Jackson’s department booked the Moroccan Air Defense
Yes, Jackson’s advanced program manager, Joe Mitchell, had
pursued this program for a long time and he finally brought it
home. I said ‘he’ because I don’t know anyone
who helped him. He was gone for long periods of time and I rarely
saw him but he really worked hard to bring it in.
Okay. And that's about when?
Around '79. That program gave us the opportunity to make improvements
to our baseline products that would have taken us years to implement.
Most of the improvements were made in the power generation section
which I had just left. They designed a solid-state modulator for
the eight TPS-43M radar’s transmitters. They also designed
the 5KW replacement for the four TPS-63 radar’s TWT driver,
most of the power supplies used on the program and the RF power
modules for the world’s first solid-state IFF interrogator.
Dick Schurmann supervised the design of this unit and his group
designed the digital hardware for it. The IFF systems were used
with both radars and fit into a drawer in the TADS shelter, replacing
the old cabinet version which was always either bought outside
or furnished by the customer. Dave had been managing cost and schedule
visibility reviews and I fit them into my schedule. At some time
prior to this assignment I had worked with every supervisor in
the department. In addition to the section manager, reviews included
Everybody in the department was very busy that year. A snapshot
of our activity in February of ’79 would show that Ted Foster’s
power generation section was designing power supplies for the ARSR-3,
the Moroccan ADS and the Hawk DSP, a total of 17 different designs.
The section was also designing the family of transmitters for PQL,
an automatic test set for the ARSR-3 transmitter modules, mod kits
for the Navy SPS-37, the TPS-43 solid-state modulator, TPS-63 solid-state
driver and frequency generator for the Moroccan radars, the TRACS
transmitter for the Canadian radar, the MIT L-band transmitter,
and designing and manufacturing the RF modules for the JPL/Space
Shuttle Radar, the solid-state driver for our SPS-65 and the 120
watt driver for the ARSR-3. Fred Timmel’s display section
was designing the display and scan converter for the EAR, a display
for the HELRATS, a digital video mapper and design modifications
to the UPA-62 display which converted it to a programmable display
with the new US military nomenclature, the AN/UYQ-27 and a display
for the Marine Air Tactical Control and Landing System, MATCALS,
which was a companion to our Marine Corps AN/TPS-63. Wally Hoff’s
section was designing the Spalding signal processor for a nearby
agency, signal processors for the ARSR-3 and TPS-63 for Morocco,
Digital Target Extractors for the ARSR-3. TPS-43 and TPS-63 Morocco
radars and the solid-state IFF’s for the -43’s and
-63’s for Morocco. Cal Jones’s section was designing
the TPS-43 ULSA, and an L-band ULSA for the Hawk, a waveguide glide
slope antenna, the TRACS antenna and the rotary joint for the SPS-10/65.
Cal’s facilities groups were designing an operations shelter
for Korea and a similar shelter for Argentina as add-ons to our
recent sales of TPS-43’s to those countries. These shelters
contained what was required to convert a radar site into a tactical
air defense site or, as in Morocco, it served as a node in a country
wide air defense system. They were also designing the communications,
operations and maintenance shelters, and modifying the TPS-43 and
TPS-63 radar shelters for the Moroccan system. The communications
shelter included the VOCOM system we developed for Iran. The group
was also designing mods to our TPS-61 shelter. Cal’s group
was responsible for the assembly of all of the equipment inside
the customer’s facility in Morocco.
When I met with Jackson and talked about what we were planning
to do for the Moroccan program, I told him I thought we could do
it because everything we were going to do with the exception of
the solid-state IFF was being launched from a solid foundation.
He knew all about our foundation because he had funded a lot of
it. When he asked what my disaster plan was for the IFF I told
him that we would fall back to the off-the shelf systems we used
in all of our other shelters. We always had them available. Then
he asked me what I thought would be the toughest job. I said the
solid-state modulator for the -43. You’ve already done it
for the ARSR-3 and the ADS-4. Do you want to take it off the list?
I said no, because I don’t know when we’ll get another
chance. When I talked to Dick, he asked me if I thought I was biting
off too big a chunk. I said I wouldn’t do it without the
people I have. And so we did it all. We also installed our first
TPS-63 radar on a tethered aerostat. We needed a new lightweight
antenna and Morris Tamres found one made of aluminum coated plastic
which worked very well. When Jackson was invited to see the system
he asked me to go along. He was impressed as we all were but he
told me that he didn’t like his radar sharing space on the
balloon with a gasoline powered engine generator and its fuel tank.
He said we should be feeding power up the cable. Radar data was
passed down the tether cable and soon after I passed his comments
to T-com, which we then owned, power was generated on the ground
and fed up the tether. This Lighter than Air Surveillance System
became known as the LASS.
Tactical Radars, TAFLIR
So you were in that position for about a year and then you became
Engineering Manager for Tactical Radars.
Right. In a reorganization, Pearson was named GM of Matrix Engineering
and Wayne Fegely and Hank Airth were promoted to general managers.
Hank was now the manager of engineering for Maurice Ani’s
Command and Control Divisions. Both George Martin, who managed
system’s engineering, and I reported to him. After a couple
of months Hank asked me to set up an engineering organization for
the tactical radar department managed by Jack Tymann.
During the first month of my new assignment we won a contract
for 13 TPS-43 radars for Saudi Arabia. These would be used by the
Saudi ground forces as defense acquisition radars for the Hawk
missile. We had bid the program to Litton Data Systems who had
the prime contract with Saudi [Arabia]. My role in this win was
minimal. I read and approved the specification for the radar before
we signed the contract. It had been prepared by George Bone and
required only minor changes and I confirmed that those changes
requested by the customer were covered in our cost proposal. I
rarely participated in contract negotiations and whenever an engineer
in my organization attended I would make sure that he understood
that our contracts rep was in charge and he would ask for any information
he needed from the rest of the team. When we returned from Litton/California,
I assigned Frank Hodges as engineering manager. Although he was
considered an expert in the design of low noise torpedoes, he quickly
became self-sufficient and helped drive the radars through the
shop to delivery.
Earlier, the programs department had been paid to participate
in a fly-off against Hughes in Switzerland and George Bone had
managed our team. Our candidate was the multiple beam TPS-43 with
a range of over 200 miles and theirs was a pencil beam mortar locating
radar with a range of 20 miles. The Swiss scheduled a visit to
debrief us and to give us the opportunity to tell them what we
would do to meet their requirements for a 60 mile 3D tactical radar.
The Swiss acronym for such a radar is TAFLIR. We knew that Hughes
would have a hard time converting their entry into a 60 mile radar.
So it came down to the difference in radar architectures. It would
be the first time we had to compete against it and we didn’t
want to see Hughes in our sandbox. Before the Swiss visited us,
I met with Coleman Miller and asked him if he thought a version
of the ULSA would be beneficial to the TAFLIR. He said yes. I didn’t
have to ask him my next question. He said now that we have a set
of antenna patterns, we have proven our computer program and all
of our tapes for machining the slots. From now on, if we are given
a limit, we’ll start from that number to work the problem
in reverse to get our tapes. I told him that so far our export
experts haven’t found anything I can use as a guide if we
have to modify our export license. Then I started to prepare my
briefing for the Swiss visit. By that time, we had developed a
tremendous array of subsystems for the radars we produced which
I already discussed. Nearly all of our designs were modular - we
could apply them to meet the requirements of emerging systems.
That was the approach I took in preparing my briefing. Our meeting
with the Swiss, which I asked Coleman Miller and John Taylor to
attend, began with a review of the data gathered during the in-country
tests. Then they asked what we would do to improve performance
before they issued their RFP for a small production lot.
In my briefing I began with a chart summarizing the performance
of each subsystem of the radar that we had tested in Switzerland.
I then walked them through the design of the system we were planning
to propose, starting with the antenna. We would use a version of
our ULSA antenna for side-lobe levels equal to or lower than the
23dB theoretical limit of reflector antennas such as our TPS-43.
Next, we would use a solid-state modulator in the transmitter for
improved stability. I told them that the modulator had been designed
for the TPS-43M for Morocco and was also a close cousin of the
Swiss ARSR-3 radars now operational in Switzerland. Gerry Steele
had done a great job managing that program for Wx and we were always
proud to refer to it. I then said that we would use four-pulse
I and Q MTI cancellers to replace the three-pulse cancellers of
the test system. Finally, I described our array signal processor,
ASP, as the post-processor we would use for digital target extraction
and capable of tracking a thousand targets. My pitch included performance
charts and photographs of all the hardware I talked about and we
arranged demonstrations of everything I discussed. After a brief
caucus their leader, Bruno C., said they didn’t have any
questions. He said they were shocked and pleasantly surprised at
how far we had come in improving the TPS-43 beyond the version
tested for them. Then they left to visit Hughes for the same type
[of] meeting. When the RFP came out, Jack Tymann held a meeting
to make proposal assignments and lay out our strategy. The usual
assignments were made, then we talked about our win strategy. My
input covered existing designs, low risk, proven performance in
mountainous terrain, and modern hardware. A couple of days later,
Jack introduced me to Dr. Nick Begovich, an engineering consultant
he had retained to help me with the technical proposal. I learned
later that he had once been a Hughes VP, then later a Litton Data
Systems VP and most recently a consultant with APL. But first I
learned that he was one of the finest people I had ever met.
We quickly got to work. I gave him the briefing I had given the
Swiss and then we reviewed our proposal outline. It was going to
be a pretty standard technical proposal stressing our win strategy
themes which would be written by our design sections. This would
be supplemented by appendices that John Taylor usually wrote predicting
the radar’s performance in weather, severe ground clutter
and jamming. Our systems engineers would back him up with data
and scope photos from sites around the world, including the Swiss
ARSR-3 sites in their own country. He asked me how I felt about
beating Hughes. I said we should blow them away. I said I’d
rather be riding our radar than theirs. He said I would too. But
I don’t see anywhere in your outline where you’re going
to tell the customer that your architecture is superior to theirs.
I said I guess we take it for granted. I’ve heard some criticism
from some high level Wx managers about our stacked beam architecture
being old technology and such. He said the term stacked beam has
been around for a while. Your competition will hammer away at you
trying to convince the customer that an electronic scan architecture
is superior to your older approach and no matter how sophisticated
you think a customer is, there will always be two camps. So why
not refer to it as multiple beams. I said we do. He reminded me
that there are only two ways to compete with a multiple beam radar.
One way is with another multiple beam radar, and the other way
is with multiple radars. Then we modified our win strategy. All
of our other items were secondary to our main theme - beat the
Hughes pencil beam radar’s architecture. It turned out that
we had to win that battle several times in the future. It was often
difficult to explain why a single pencil beam was not as proficient
as a multiple beam system. I would usually start by saying on a
clear day you can see forever. But a pencil beam radar facing the
ground clutter, weather clutter, and jamming found in a tactical
environment is seriously flawed. It has very little opportunity
to gather the data needed over that short period of time to process
all that clutter. Once the beam scans past a point, there is insufficient
time to dwell or scan back and data is lost and in radar there
is no substitute for lost data. A multiple beam radar is nearly
equivalent to multiple radars and no time is wasted scanning vertically.
The system is not overwhelmed by the environment but instead uses
all of the data to enhance its capabilities.
So now Jack and I felt we were in a stronger position to win.
Nick stayed with us throughout the proposal period and although
he flew back and forth to California a few times, he reviewed the
final draft of the technical proposal. We would sometimes have
dinner and he was a nice person to be around. I really appreciated
what he did for us and for the opportunity it gave me to work with
him. I told Jack that he had made a good move to get him and also
that I wouldn’t like to compete with him.
I wrote very little of the proposal but reviewed all of it. Guntis
was now reporting to me and managed the technical volume. I met
with our antenna experts and we focused on preparing what was needed
to get our export license approved. There was nothing to guide
us in the international acquisition regulations, the ITAR. We were
starting from our reflector side-lobes of 23 dB. The ULSA was much
better than that and so was the AWACS, but we felt that we could
get approval for an export level of 35 dB. We had exported everything
else in the radar at one time or another but this was the world’s
first ground-based ULSA. We had no way to find out how that level
would be received by the approval board, but we did find out what
they were concerned about. And that's what we went down to try
to get approved.
During that period, we had been told that the board would not
approve the sale of any military hardware to a country if either
they, or if captured by the Russians they, could reverse engineer
it in less than five years. And we were seeking approval to sell
a state-of-the-art antenna to a country with a history of reverse
engineering. Most notably, the Swiss had reverse engineered the
French Mirage and sold the information to Israel. Coleman Miller
put our request together, and Gary Evans and I met with the board
in the Pentagon. I described the differences between the system
they had approved for our tests in Switzerland and what we were
proposing. I linked all of the new hardware to other cases they
had approved for us and then said that Gary was going to describe
the antenna. Gary walked through the entire design process in a
very understandable way. He talked about how long it had taken
to develop the computer aided design of the antenna ending with
the required precision to which the slots in the waveguide had
to be machined to achieve the overall antenna performance. Then
he swung over to the derivation of the tapes which manufacturing
would use for their numerically controlled machines and finally
told a similar story about deriving the test tapes used for pattern
testing at our antenna range. He showed that the design, production
and test phases were so intricately connected that anyone wanting
to reverse engineer our design and duplicate its performance would
have to reverse engineer our entire CAD, CAM, CAT and test range
to do it. Gary sat down and the first question came from the USAF
member. What are the side-lobe levels you want to export? I said
35 dB. I added, for the benefit of the agency member concerned
about reverse engineering, by the way, that’s the level that
would be achieved by anyone if they could reverse engineer it.
There were no more questions and we left. Our approval was quickly
We submitted the bid and I continued building an engineering organization
to support the Tactical Radar Department. The people now reporting
to me were the engineering managers assigned to each of its programs.
In addition to those I mentioned that we were designing for Morocco,
we booked an 18 lot of TPS-43s for the USAF, two for Thailand and
six for Pakistan. We also booked 15 AN/TPS-63’s and two-65’s,
their dual version, and then we won the Swiss TAFLIR for which
I named Ken Horenkamp EM. Early that year I met with Jackson and
he said he was going to retire. He told me why and that his reasons
held when Harry Smith asked him to reconsider his retirement. For
most of his time as our leader, the margin on Jackson’s foreign
programs made the bottom lines of his superiors look very good.
Additionally, he funded most of our development needs. Since I
had to interface with a lot of people, I never got into high-level
political brawls, but I was usually made aware of their outcome.
I knew how important our international business was to everyone,
so when I was asked if I would travel internationally, I agreed.
Milt Borkowski, who had been added to Maurice Ani’s staff,
took over as manager of surveillance radars.
Sometime after we won the TAFLIR contract a program decision was
made to use a version of the F-16 programmable signal processor
on each beam in place of the four-pulse MTI canceller approach
we had proposed. This had been suggested by Harry Smith as a way
to improve the radar’s performance in clutter. I had once
asked for a comparison of the two approaches and was told that
it was like having an eight-pulse canceller with a much better
improvement factor. In any case, there was no doubt that it would
significantly improve our radar. But the net result was that it
became a much more complicated processor to design. It also gave
engineering the opportunity to imply that its over-run was due
to Harry, although I don’t think anyone ever told him that.
Only Milt’s controller and he knew how much of his margin
he applied before the bleeding stopped. The real beneficiary was
the customer. When they first saw the radar operating in Switzerland
their jaws dropped because this radar could unmask a jet from the
Alps. I’ve never heard of a radar that could come close to
doing that. During that year we bid and won the ASR-9. My contribution
was limited to participation on the proposal review teams, Blue,
Red, and Gold. We won the contract for the production of the 137
radars you can see at every airport.
Travel, German ASR-9
Also during 1980 I went on five international trips. Bill Baumgartner
was Jackson’s manager of advanced programs and continued
in that role. He had retired from the USAF and knew most of the
Pentagon desk officers and their countries of interest. He also
worked very closely with our network of international marketers.
Before I visited a country, he would loan me his file which included
descriptions of the customs and courtesies of the countries I would
be visiting. He would select a travel window and get pre-approval
for my trip so that both Milt and my GM, Hank Airth, knew where
I was going. Later, this process got more complicated due to the
clearances I had and the places I was planning to visit. On my
first trip, I visited the Brazilian Air Force Development Lab in
San Jose dos Campos. They were interested in co-producing an S-band
radar similar to our ASR-9 but wanted to start with the antenna
which Cal Jones who was with me handled. The head of the lab asked
me to look at a radar they were designing. Everything had been
crammed into one cabinet, nothing was shielded and so on. I suggested
that they separate the subsystems and get them working before putting
them together. I wanted to tell them to start over but I was hoping
they would conclude that themselves. Soon after we left, their
antenna program lost its funding.
Next I visited the UAE [United Arab Emirates] with Homer Willett,
our OPS analyst who was also a retired USAF Colonel. I described
the AN/TPS-43 and our tactical air defense and communications shelters.
I had brought scope pictures which showed the results of processing
the data through our digital target extractor and tracker. Then
Homer showed them how to set up trial intercepts. He then described
how we would extend the performance of a TADS to a countrywide
automated air defense system. Although we soon got the contract
for the TADS which included the TPS-43 radars, it took seven years
through four changes of command before Bert Drummond booked it
during a long in-country visit.
On my way back I stopped at Munich. George Martin had a request
for an ASR-9 briefing from the German Air Traffic Control Organization.
We had just won the program so my visual aids were the schematics,
drawings and charts the team had prepared for the proposal. I also
had a copy of the proposal and the cross-reference index that I
had prepared when I helped [the] Red team [with] the proposal.
George had set up the meeting in a conference room in a hotel where
he was staying. George and [the] ATC manager met me in the lobby
and we walked around to the conference room. Both sides of the
table were lined with engineers, seven on each side. Each one had
a copy of the FAA ASR-9 specification in front of him. Their manager
introduced me and then said he had hoped that his people could
have some points in the spec clarified and had come prepared to
ask questions about their specialty areas. And I told him that
I had come prepared to brief your group on our winning approach
to the ASR-9. But since I was one of the people who reviewed our
proposal to ensure its compliance with the spec and since I have
a copy of our winning proposal with me, I can tell you how we satisfied
the requirements. I don’t want you to think I’m an
expert in all of the areas but I feel that the engineers who wrote
our response are. We actually went through every page of the spec
and stopped whenever an issue needed clarification. As we discussed
an area I would put up a related vugraph. It took almost two hours
but there were no snags. Then I said does anyone have any other
questions, and one of the engineers asked what are the prime power
requirements of the radar? I thought about it and said I don’t
know. No limit is given in the spec and I’m not sure the
FAA cares since the ASR-9 will replace existing radars that are
not as efficient. But we’ll send you an answer when I get
back. It was just after 8pm. George had ordered a buffet type dinner
in another nearby room for everyone. Some of the engineers wanted
to know why I had learned so much about FAA specs and I said self-preservation.
I told them that the FAA was one of the most demanding customers
we ever had, but look at the results. Later George and I met with
our host. I started by asking him if could review a few potential
business approaches with him. He agreed so I started with a sole
source award for radars which would meet all the requirements of
the spec we just reviewed. Next, buy the radars directly from the
FAA and take full advantage of their logistics pipeline and training.
Next, re-issue the ASR-9 spec exactly as written and let us work
with the FAA to help you realize the savings for you. Then he said
I had to make this a competitive procurement. I asked why. He said
the agency has heard from other countries that want a chance to
compete but we have heard nothing from the US. He had tried to
use the same reasons to convince his management but their only
concession was that he could release the ASR-9 spec for their procurement.
I asked him if he would tell me which countries came in through
their embassies. He said Italy and France. I said I’m sure
you know that neither of their radars can come close to meeting
the ASR-9 requirements. Both companies are still using magnetrons
as their output tubes. He said yes, we do know. He thanked us and
left no doubt in our minds that the job was ours to lose. After
I wrote my trip report, the ATC programs office contacted the FAA
Foreign Liaison Office and asked for their support. But the RFP
was issued and a proposal was prepared.
In the meantime, I travelled to Taiwan and Thailand to brief each
Air Force on a mod we had made to one of the Korean TPS-43s. They
had asked for help detecting small aircraft incursions across the
demilitarized zone. We had borrowed a 5KW solid-state driver from
our production line and transmitted an L-band beam through the
beacon antenna which was chin-mounted on the TPS-43 antenna. This
very simple mod gave us a look down capability that worked for
the Koreans and was of great interest to Taiwan and Thailand. During
the summer, our ATC programs office submitted their proposal for
the German ASR-9s. By late August we were told that we had lost
it to HSA, the Dutch Radar Company now owned by Philips. I was
scheduled to attend my first air show at Farnborough, UK. The winner
of a large air defense program, the UKADGE, was scheduled to be
announced during the week of the air show and Maurice Ani planned
to attend to receive the decision from the Ministry of Defense.
Milt and I returned from the show together and went up to our hospitality
suite in the Churchill Hotel. When I walked in, Maurice motioned
me over and said Lou, I’d like you to meet Lord so and so,
the managing director of Marconi. We shook hands and he left. Maurice
said, do you know what he said to me? He said, pity. He saw Milt
come in and when he came over he told him what had happened. And
that was how he found out we had lost a huge program. We both told
him we were sorry and later agreed that you couldn’t help
but admire him for the way he took the news. It was demeaning to
begin with, but to be informed by your competitor on your own turf
while he watched for your reaction took competition to a new low.
Later that night he introduced me to the CEO of HSA. He told me
that he had asked him if he would let his engineering manager debrief
me on their win over us in Germany and he said yes. I said will
he tell me how they won and he said sure.
The next day he asked me to go down to Morocco to see whether
or not I was satisfied with the way things were going. He told
me that John Stuntz, then Harry Smith’s deputy, and our program
manager Bob Cowdery, were on site. We had sent Paul Kennedy and
a team of engineers to Morocco to get the equipment ready for customer
sell-off. After the air show I flew to Morocco. I reviewed the
status of everything we had designed for the program and Paul’s
problem book and file of changes. Most of the delay was due to
overheating in the solid-state modulator for the TPS-43. But a
fix was being designed and would soon be implemented. I told Paul
that I was still concerned because we hadn’t seen this problem
on the ARSR-3 and he said he already had our engineers at home
analyzing it. I asked Paul what he needed and he said some sleep.
I spent the next day at the site while the engineers were uncovering
problems with cables, grounding and crosstalk, nothing that hadn’t
been seen before. Paul and I met with Bob and I told him that I
was satisfied that things were under control. I didn’t have
to say anything more. Bob, having managed the AWACS program, knew
how to get attention. That evening I flew to Amsterdam. The next
morning I flew to Hengelo, HSA’s headquarters, in the CEO’s
private plane which he sent to pick me up. That was the most colorful
flight I ever took. We flew at low level across miles of tulips
in bloom. Their engineers told me that the changes they asked the
German FAA to make were carefully selected and fit into two categories,
those that would cost us money to remove, and those that would
cost us money to implement, all the while moving toward their proposed
design. Then they prepared the sequence for submitting the change
requests and reviewed each set with the customer. They said they
were amazed that we never complained to the customer. They showed
me around their facility. Most of their production was for shipboard
use. But their management had decided to penetrate the ATC market
and this was their entry. They were rightfully proud that they
had knocked us off. I sent some brief memos covering my visits
when I got back.
A month later I visited Cairo and briefed the TPS-63, and the
tactical ops and communications shelters we had developed for Morocco.
Most of the time when I briefed the -63 an antenna question would
be asked - usually, why is it so tall? Then I would show the sharp
cutoff on the underside of our beam on a coverage diagram and its
effect in detecting a small target near the deck overland or a
sea-skimmer over water. That’s what sets this radar apart
from radars like those you have or from any other radar in the
world. Their present radars were supplied by the Soviets, and our
major competitor was Thomson-CSF, the French company. I then flew
to Bangkok and briefed an auditorium half-full of Air Force officers
on the dual-band radar and -43 improvements we could make to those
they already had. Bangkok is half way around the world from Baltimore
so I flew east when I left and made my first flight around it.
So you were in that slot for about a year.
Then I took over as Engineering Manager of Milt Borkowski’s
Ground Radar Department. The ATC business was added to the tactical
radar business. Six months later, the defense business unit was
reorganized into numbers of divisions. Milt was named general manager
of the surveillance radar division to which our Navy business was
added. It became one of three divisions managed by Maurice Ani.
Over the next 13 years, through an average of a reorganization
a year due to the usual corporate executive attrition factors,
Milt’s objectives and responsibilities continued to expand.
When I retired, Dick Linder had been president of the Electronics
Systems Group and Milt was VP [of] Command Control Communications
Intelligence and Marine Divisions. Throughout that period I was
his engineering manager. Milt managed the Surveillance Radar Division
until ’86 when the Command and Control Division and the Communications
Division became his responsibility. During that time I travelled
to most of the countries on the list I attached to my resume.
Oh, you mean that list of countries you went to?
Yes. My first trip to Yugoslavia resulted from an interview with
Phil Klass of Aviation Week Magazine during which I discussed the
ULSA. At the time, the State Department had approved the USAF letter
of agreement, LOA, authorizing the sale of five AN/TPS-43 and eight
AN/TPS-63 radars to Yugoslavia. Since it was to be a foreign military
sale, the USAF was responsible for the export license. The Yugoslav
Air Defense Commander, General K., after seeing my name in the
magazine said he wanted me to brief him before he signed the LOA.
Bill Baumgartner and I met with the USAF desk officer in the Pentagon
and the meeting went to another level. We were joined by a high
level civilian employee from the ESD, the AF system’s command
and others. We learned of the possibility of later becoming involved
with their air defense system. The existing system inside one of
their mountains used Marconi equipment and was out of date. We
were told to assume that everything we said would be overheard
and that everything was bugged. Our meeting in-country was held
at Air Force headquarters in Belgrade. I described, through the
General’s interpreter, the version of the radars contained
in the LOA. When he asked me to describe the ULSA antenna, I gave
him the briefing I had cleared at our Pentagon meeting before the
trip and he told the USAF that was the antenna he wanted in the
LOA before he signed it. Our USAF Colonel told him that since that
version of the TPS-43 was not yet in USAF industry it would delay
the program until Wx could design the resultant system. We left
and walked to the American embassy just a few blocks away. We met
in the conference room where we would discuss anything related
to the program or business, either Wx or USAF. We asked the USAF
Colonel if he could get ULSA export approval to Yugoslavia. He
thought the State Department was eager enough to see our hardware
in that country that they would approve. I asked about increasing
the baseline price and he said he would work on it.
When I got back, I met with Gary Evans and told him that we were
going to need an ULSA. He and Coleman had obviously talked about
it while I was gone because he said if you need 35 dB side-lobes
again we can eliminate the fold. So the antenna without the fold
that is right out in front of this museum was first designed for
the Yugoslav Air Force and became the TPS-70 export standard. As
I blocked out the rest of the system, I chose the most advanced
hardware we had already developed which for the most part became
that from the Moroccan program. The array signal processor which
would perform the digital target extraction and the track functions
were by now standard hardware. An ASCII keyboard had been added
to the display making it programmable. I received cost estimates
from the design managers and from the C&C logistics support
general manager, Tom Mercer. Tom was great. We had worked some
cost related issues in the past. I told him that their commanding
general ordered that his Yugoslav Air Force officers would be trained
by our design engineers and that they in turn would translate their
knowledge into Serbian and train their people. Further, we would
not have a field engineering and services team in-country. I told
Tom that we needed to apply any savings realized to the radar which
would become the next generation TPS-43. Next, I asked Dick Koehler
who was now manager of TPS- 43 programs to ask the Saudi Arabian
customer to convert the two TPS-43s they had just ordered to TPS-70s.
When I met with Milt I showed him that despite everything everyone
had done, we still needed a larger lot size over which to spread
our development costs. I said I thought we would need at least
five more. Milt approved and later, when Dick Koehler released
the first TPS-70 production lot, it was for 13 radars, five of
which we had not yet sold. This was how Milt invested in us. He
would get estimates from marketing of the number of radars they
expected to book worldwide and take a percentage of the total and
release that number to manufacturing. That sounds easy, but it
could very easily become a career-busting opportunity.
His was the first executive management position in the corporation
which had a profit and loss statement or if you prefer, bottom
line. And that was mainly derived from the summation of the financial
performance of the contracts within his area of responsibility.
This was the method of the operating divisions. Our development
divisions were allowed to break even and each of the operating
divisions were taxed to help them achieve their break even status.
I know I’ve dwelled on this subject, but from this point
until I retired, I was Milt’s engineering manager. Administratively
I reported to the general manager of our development division and
dotted line to Milt except at the end of my career when I became
a direct report. Since this was a new radar, it was a little difficult
asking him to do it, but nowhere near as difficult as it would
be for him to approve. But it was the right decision. As we were
working to change the Yugoslav TPS-43 to a TPS-70, the TPS-63 was
allowed to go forward by itself. But it wasn’t going to be
by itself. At our last reorganization, Navy radars became Milt’s
responsibility and Jim Luck from that group became TPS-63 program
manager. He successfully combined the needs of Yugoslavia, Egypt
and Korea into a single 24 lot of radars, each country to field
eight. This was a great boost for a great radar.
Air Defense Ground Environment, More Travel
In mid-’81 I travelled with a consultant who had been retained
to review the study report for the upgrade of the NATO Air Defense
Ground Environment. The study effort had been managed by George
Martin who had moved to Brussels for its duration. The consultant
was Lt. General Karl Petersen. He had been the commander of NATO
North and spoke Norwegian. We met with the Danish Air Force Chief
of Staff and a few radar officers and I briefed them on our TPS-70
and TPS-63. This was before NATO purchased the AWACS and side-lobe
levels, decoys and anti-radiation missiles were all topics of interest
to them. When we visited Norway, I briefed the Chief of Staff of
the Air Force and his staff. Many were probably there in deference
to Gen. Petersen’s former position in NATO, but it was the
most star-studded audience I ever faced. Jim Bradley flew up for
the meeting and said there were 37 total stars on the sign-in sheet.
I also visited the NATO SHAPE Technical Center in The Hague headquarters
in Mons, Belgium and the Spanish Air Force facility in Madrid.
I had only taken a few vacation days in 1980 and my wife and I
started planning a trip to Europe for September, after our daughters
returned to college. We planned to visit Dublin, Bruges, Salzburg,
Rome and Madrid. We planned an average of three days in each country
with all travel by air. Within the next month, Bill Baumgartner
received two visit requests for me. When Hank Airth asked me if
I wanted to fit them in I agreed. Then within the next two months
he received five more requests including one from Yugoslavia which
I had to attend. Hank asked me what I wanted to do and I told him
that since my wife had been looking forward to her first trip to
Europe I didn’t want to disappoint her. I gave her the option
of meeting me after I finished my visits but she didn’t want
to fly alone. Besides, she liked the new itinerary so I told her
I would ask for permission to take her on what was now a business
trip. Hank said in that case, we’ll pay for her to go.
On that trip, we flew to Frankfurt then to Salzburg, where we
spent three days which included a day trip to Vienna. Then we flew
to Bonn. Mac McConnell - from our Wx office in Bonn - and I visited
the U.S. Army base at Darmstadt to discuss the results of some
work that one of our systems engineers, Joe Henry, had done for
the Army at White Sands. Next came a one day trip to Paris. Although
the French were part of NATO they often requested private briefings
at their headquarters. We arrived in the morning for a 10am meeting
after which we had the day and evening to ourselves. When my wife
changed for dinner she changed purses and left all the jewelry
she wasn’t wearing hidden in the bottom of her larger bag.
The next morning when we were getting ready to leave for Belgrade
we realized that we had been robbed. I reported the theft to the
hotel management and to the police. Mac stayed with it until his
early afternoon return to Bonn, but it was lost. Belgrade, Brussels,
The Hague and finally Bern, for a meeting concerning a Swiss military
ATC requirement were our remaining stops. We had been gone for
The night before we were scheduled to leave Norm Molz, one of
our international marketing managers, called and asked me to meet
him in London on my way home. We met in the embassy of Pakistan
and I was asked to visit a number of places in Pakistan in the
following month. So on our trip we actually visited the capitals
of eight countries and had a memorable vacation. I was later surprised
that my homeowner’s insurance covered the loss. A month later
Norm and I flew to Pakistan by way of Saudi Arabia. During that
trip, Norm and I visited Air Defense Headquarters and they asked
me to visit their military airfields near Islamabad, Peshawar and
Rawalpindi. Pakistan had purchased F-16s and later six TPS43G radars.
But their airport radars were older gap fillers made by a German
company. At one base, an officer asked me what I thought about
his radar. I said it was nice. Then I said we’re near the
runways and I can hear planes taking off and landing but I can’t
see them on the display. This is a 45 kilometer range radar but
you have blanked the first 30 kilometers. He said we have a lot
of clutter so we tilted the antenna up. When we returned to headquarters
I told the Air Vice-Marshall that they were using a radar for air
traffic control which had been designed for a different mission.
I briefed him on the ASR-9 and the TPS-63. Before we left we met
with our defense attaché in the US embassy. Part of his
job was to be aware of Pakistan’s military air traffic control
capabilities in the event that they might one day be needed to
control USAF military aircraft and I briefed him on our visits.
Radar Division, Tokyo
It’s 1982 and you're now Surveillance Radar Division, SRD,
Right. Milt organized SRD into departments and each department
proposed and then managed programs that they booked. Each proposal
had a proposal manager and each program had a program manager.
In both cases I would assign an engineering manager. As the business
grew I planned to assign an engineering manager to each department
but until then they reported to me. At the time, the ATC department
was designing the ASR-9 and the mode-S systems. Tom Dovey and Bob
Fowler were the EM’s reporting to me. Each managed a large
team of systems and design engineers assigned from their functional
groups. Similarly, the EM’s for the Tactical Radar Department
continued to report to me. These included all versions of the TPS-43
and TPS-63 and the Tactical Air Defense Systems, TADS, elements.
These could handle the needs of small countries like Mexico for
example. We had also begun selling our TPS-63 LASS aerostat radar.
The Navy business that was transferred to Milt included the SPS-58/65
and the W-160. This was an application of the F-16 fire control
radar for use aboard ship as a surveillance radar. To accomplish
this, a new antenna was required and the processor required re-programming.
It was a fixed price development contract for Taiwan. That design
took its place among the more difficult radars we had to design.
We were having a lot of difficulty with all of the software intensive
systems we had under contract. The software system architects we
had were very sharp, but we just didn’t have enough of them.
Ben Vester called me and said you guys are going to take a bath
on that job. I assigned Dick Schurmann as EM and he prevented that
from happening. He practically willed that radar into existence
using whatever part time help he could get. The engineer who helped
him do it - and who took the systems to the field and sold them
off - was Buzz Kalafos, VP of surveillance systems for Northrop
In February of ’82 I was scheduled to visit Taipei for a
dual-band radar briefing. Bill Baumgartner was scheduled to visit
Belgrade to review the revised LOA in behalf of Wx but could not
go due to illness. So I went to Belgrade, then to Taipei. I was
back in April and signed the LOA in behalf of Wx and soon after
that we got the contract. Then the TPS-70 was designed and Dick
Koehler released the initial production order for 13 radars. A
couple of years later Milt said he considered me the father of
the TPS-70 and admired the way I fashioned the program into a 13
lot. But he’s the guy whose neck was hanging out. In June,
Joe Henry and I visited the NATO office in Paris. We left DC on
a Thursday night. The French were interested in upgrading their
Hawk radars. I briefed the DSP and Joe briefed the Hawk ULSA. He
had led the system’s engineering effort when we sold the
ULSA development to the US Army. Joe planned an overnight stay
in Paris before returning to Baltimore, but I left that afternoon
for Rome. As we left we were stopped as a motorcade under heavy
security sped by. One car held President and Mrs. Reagan. The next
day Jim Bradley flew to Rome from his London office. He had arranged
a meeting with Selenia Management for the next day to discuss teaming
to bid an Italian Air Force requirement. Our hotel was next to
the American Embassy on the Via Veneto. The next morning, the area
was swarming with armed guards and the street was barricaded. We
crossed the street to wait for a Selenia driver to pick us up when
a motorcade left the embassy. They turned left about five feet
in front of us and this time we got a wave from President and Mrs.
Reagan. Jim said I should have asked him for a ride to Rome. The
last leg of my trip took me to Tokyo. I was scheduled for a first
class flight, Rome-Bangkok-Tokyo, on Japan Airlines. When we leveled
off the pilot welcomed us and said that our first stop would be
in Moscow. I asked the steward why this flight wasn’t going
to Bangkok as stated on my ticket. He went into the cockpit and
returned and gave me a copy of the flight plan in Japanese showing
Moscow. The pilot told him that the route had been changed two
days ago. So I sat back and enjoyed one of my best flights ever.
The appetizers were a combination of Italian, Russian and Japanese
delicacies and the meal and drinks were outstanding. It certainly
compensated for my trip to Pakistan where I had contracted food
poisoning and lost 15 pounds.
I spent a lot of time being debriefed when I got back. I was going
to meet George Shoenberger, Milt’s ATC programs manager in
Tokyo. George would describe our ATC programs and I would give
technical briefings focused around their requirements. By this
point in time we had charts which compared our performance to that
of every other ATC radar in the world. No other country specified
more stringent performance than the US FAA. In short, that was
the primary reason why we were often getting hammered by the French
and Italians in some countries. Japanese radars shared common design
threads, none used solid-state technology, all used magnetron FPA
transmitters, and performance in rain, reliability and maintainability
requirements were hardly ever specified. So nearly every technical
strength we had designed in our radars turned out to be a huge
burden to us in the international marketplace. So obviously it
was important for us to be aware of emerging requirements and work
to cultivate customer interest in us. I mostly focused on the technical
aspects while our programs and marketing took care of the rest.
I had met with Milt before I left. We knew that Mitsubishi was
about to start designing an L-band long range active aperture array
radar for their self defense force. It had been a sole source award.
We had talked about the future impact on our business if they pulled
this off and tried to work out ways that would involve us. His
idea was to offer Mitsubishi the opportunity to co-produce any
part - or if necessary all - of the ASR-9 in exchange for allowing
us to co-design the SDF radar. At the meeting I gave an overview
of our long range L-band radars and described the evolution of
our solid-state MICS. After I described the ASR-9 and told them
what our offer was they asked for a brief caucus. When they returned
they said they were very interested and would call us after meeting
with their customer.
Taiwan and Korea
In July, six of us visited Argentina after their Falkland Island
War with the Brits. Milt and I, accompanied by Guntis, Jim Luck,
Chuck Sprague and Paul O. from ILS made up the team. The Brits
had captured one of their TPS-43s, had damaged two others and destroyed
one antenna. When they asked for help, the USAF told us that we
could only restore them to their pre-war position and provide spares
and training so we did that before the end of the year. We had
also wanted to discuss their emerging requirements for a tactical
air defense system which we all participated in. In September I
visited Taiwan Army headquarters at the north end of the island.
They wanted a detailed technical briefing of the Hawk DSP before
they were going to place their order. Further, they wanted the
briefing to be in Chinese. JD Brown, our long time manager of our
international defense marketing office hired a professional interpreter
and we took off. Things were going pretty smoothly until one of
the radar engineers in the audience asked a question and the interpreter
answered it without interpreting it for me. That triggered a comment
from someone else but before he could answer I said stop, but he
didn’t so I walked over in front of him and covered my mouth
with my hand. When he stopped talking I told him not to do it again
or I would tell JD not to pay him. I went back over the vugraph
that had started the side discussion and we finished up without
any further incidents.
My last trip in ’82 was to Korea. I was scheduled to meet
the Air Defense Commander whose approval of the dual-band radar
was required. When I got to his office he greeted me and said I
know why you’re here, but I don’t want to talk about
anything until you tell me when the rest of my TPS-63 radars will
be installed. I said is there a problem and he said no, your first
radar was not commissioned yet but during tests it was the radar
that detected the Chinese MIG flown by a defector pilot which landed
here in Seoul. I called Jim Luck at home and he told me he would
call me back with the schedule. Late that night, 11am in Baltimore,
Jim called back and told me the next three radars were hung up
in Korean customs and the installation crew is standing by. The
remaining four radars were on schedule to be shipped before the
end of the year. The next morning I told the general and he called
his aide in and rattled off some orders in Korean. Then he thanked
me, listened to my briefing and said he wanted his TPS-43s converted
to DBRs. Some countries have a very short chain of command. I was
told that this general reported to the president. But with all
that clout, Jim Luck told me that it took him three weeks to spring
Meanwhile, some work we had done for Jackson looked like it was
finally going to pay off. We had borrowed four 6kW solid-state
drivers from our production line and combined them to form a 25
kW transmitter. We demonstrated a long range version of the SPS-58
to Taiwan and they became interested enough to develop a requirement.
Our Navy group later bid and was told that they were going to get
the job as soon as some mods they wanted were incorporated into
the spec and one of our systems engineers agreed to make the changes.
After the job was transferred to Milt he wanted his controller
to review the bid which was firm fixed price. The design managers
and the systems engineering manager were asked to review their
quotes and the only portion that stood firm was the solid-state
transmitter. The changes had caused higher quotes from all other
areas. Then Milt came into my office and told me that because of
all of the cost increases, the price that was quoted for eight
radars would now only buy them seven. Since our bid has expired
I want to get out from under this contract. I would like you to
go to Taiwan and tell the Admiral. I said you want me to go with
Darryl - D. Karl - our program manager. Milt said yes, Darryl will
be there but I want you to tell the Admiral. I said you know I’m
going to be persona non grata in Taiwan after that. He said I know,
but I need you to deflect the heat off our programs. So how about
right after New Year’s (1983) and I said okay. When I got
to Taipei I checked in at our office. I learned that Harry Smith,
Maurice Ani and Art Monheit had accompanied Bernie Harris to his
presentation of the study results of his Taiwan frigate program.
The Admiral I was to meet with would be among the other admirals
in his audience. That night, Art asked me to come to his hotel
room. He said he knew why I had come and asked if I would please
wait until after their meetings and I said sure. I had been talking
to Darryl, who knew the Admiral, while trying to develop an approach.
But it was not until I talked with one of the marketing people
in our Taipei office, a Wx employee and a retired Taiwan Navy Captain,
that a plan evolved. I told him why I had come and he said oh,
that’s very bad. He said the best thing that could happen
is for the Admiral to know the story ahead of time so that when
you tell him he will choose his reaction to not lose face with
his staff. I said I thought we would meet in private. He said no.
You must have his staff present so they can see his reaction. I
said okay, how do we tell him ahead of time? He said I can help
if you agree. At one time I reported to the Admiral. We are very
good friends and neighbors. This weekend we will have a barbecue
in my back yard. After that, I can tell him. I said I agree. So
the meeting went as planned. The Admiral chose to react calmly
and said he was sad that we had let him down and although he preferred
the solid-state radar we had demonstrated and proposed, he was
going to buy the tube type radar that HSA proposed. I did not visit
Taiwan for 14 months and when I did I was on vacation with my wife.
She had wanted to visit the Orient for a long time and I took her
to Tokyo, Kyoto, Taipei, and Hong Kong. I thought she had shopped
herself out until we hit Hong Kong but she had only begun. I never
asked her how many cashmere sweaters she bought for our family
and friends. Years later, Joe Redmond told me that the Admiral
had been jailed after being found guilty on a corruption charge.
Finland and Norway
Over the next year I made two trips to Turkey to help them solidify
their long range radar requirements and a trip to Norway and Finland.
I had met an officer of Finland’s Air Force at an earlier
air show and told him that he would need an export license to get
a detailed briefing. Three months later I got a letter from a manager
of a Westinghouse office in Helsinki saying that the Air Force
had asked him to invite me for a briefing. After hearing their
requirements, I told them that the TPS-63 could exceed many of
them. As I described the radar I showed display photographs to
demonstrate the improvements that each stage of processing provided
as it was switched in. They all said they liked the radar and before
I could ask they said they would have to complete the radar. I
asked if they had anything in their procurement regulations that
would permit the direct purchase of off-the-shelf hardware. They
said yes, but they had been told that a copy of their requirements
had already been delivered to the embassy of another country. I
thanked them for inviting me and for their openness.
The meeting in Oslo was held at the Norwegian Defense Research
Establishment. I had not been told what the subject was. The meeting
was held at one of NATO’s classified levels. A diverse group
of people had been invited. A few months earlier I had read that
a helicopter had crashed in the North Sea on its way to an offshore
drilling station. The article described their air traffic control
system as consisting of the pilot reporting his position every
ten minutes or so to provide a rough idea of his location for air/sea
rescuers. I made a casual comment to a member of the SHAPE Technical
Center about how they could use our TPS-63 out on the tower and
at this meeting I was asked to expand that idea. I showed our range
coverage on a map of the area and the elevation coverage with the
radar on the tower. The ATC and air/sea rescue people were interested
in coverage over flight paths and NATO and other people were interested
in coverage looking North. There, the radar would be looking at
a slot used by both air and sea forces of the Soviets and that
is how the requirement emerged. The NATO people knew about our
TPS-63 thanks to the US Marines. They had participated in a NATO
exercise during which they deployed a -63. I got a call from a
colonel after that telling me that the radar performed perfectly
which was important for that mission because they showed up without
any spares. To handle the program as an ATC requirement, Shell
Oil Company would fund it. When I got back I met with Jim Luck
and he assigned both programs to Wayne Schatz. I told Wayne that
the Finns really wanted us but that we were probably going to have
to go through Ericksen, in neighboring Sweden, to win. Unfortunately,
that happened. And to my knowledge, no one has ever mounted a radar
on an offshore drilling platform. The petroleum engineers and rig
managers that I met were hyper-sensitive about any source of radiation
or opportunities for high voltage arcing or sources of sparks.
In the end, Shell Oil pulled their support and the program was
killed. A last ditch effort to put a radar aboard an aerostat tethered
to the tower also failed.
In November of that year I visited Oslo for a debriefing then
I met Milt in Munich for a meeting with Siemens who wanted us to
upgrade their short range radar with a solid-state transmitter.
There was little in it for us and Milt declined. Most of my time
in Baltimore was spent managing engineering for the Yugoslav TPS-70s
and the TADS shelters. Some time earlier I got a call from George
Michel who was managing the DIVADS Program. He had just demonstrated
the system to Ben Vester and Ben told him to run through the demo
for me. It was an impressive system. I was also impressed with
the test environment George had created. I asked him if it was
covered by the contract and he said no - he had requested capital
funding and everything he asked for was approved. Also during ’83,
the Brits obtained an export license so we could help them refurbish
the radar they captured in the Falklands and make it operational.
We had sent an experienced technician with data and spares and
he got it playing. Soon after that, the radar at one of their military
airfields failed and we got a call asking whether we could send
a crew to help move the -43 to fill in for the failed Plessey radar.
We told them that the field technician on site could do that with
some help from them. The call came on Friday and the radar had
been moved on Saturday and was operational on Sunday. An Under
Secretary of Defense had called our London office to thank us for
such a quick response and they told him that I would be coming
through London to join the manager for a flight to Lisbon and Madrid.
After I got to London I met with him in our office. He told me
that they were particularly impressed with the mobility of the
radar as well as its small size relative to other tactical radars
he was familiar with. I asked him if he could spare some more time
so I could tell him about the TPS-70 which was our latest derivative
of the TPS-43. He said certainly and I walked him through the differences
between the radar they had captured and the TPS-70. He asked if
I was aware of a procurement they were planning for five tactical
radars. I said no, but I hope that your experience with our radar
influences your requirement. We flew to Lisbon to help develop
a requirement for a coastal surveillance radar system. The radars
were to be deployed along the Atlantic. Our W-160 would be a perfect
radar for this procurement but this customer could not afford perfection
and didn’t need the overkill that our W-160 brought. We briefed
the TPS-70 to both the Army and the Air Force in Spain. Each service
had bought our TPS-43’s.
In March my wife and I took the vacation trip to the Far East
that I told you about. Then in August we took a vacation trip to
Europe that I combined with business. We flew to Brussels for a
meeting George Martin wanted me to attend [for] Red Team, the sensor
section of the study program he was managing. Then George and I
flew to London for one day of the air show and meetings with his
customer. We returned the next day. I picked up my wife and we
drove to The Hague. After a meeting at the SHAPE Technical Center
we spent three vacation days in Bruges and Brussels then flew to
Rome for the weekend where we were joined by Milt and his wife
Janice. On Monday we flew to Belgrade. I was scheduled to introduce
Milt to the Air Defense General who had originally asked me to
visit. He was also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but had
just been rotated and replaced by a naval officer. Our meeting
was now with him. He told us that the joint chiefs had changed
their priorities and approved funds for adding fire control radars
to their tanks. They said their preference was the radar Wx had
developed for the US Army, the DIVADS. Their alternate source was
a K-band radar produced by HSA, the Dutch company again. I called
Bill Baumgartner and he immediately started working on the approval
process. When we left Belgrade, Milt and Janice flew to Switzerland
and Nancy and I finished our vacation in Salzburg. Back at work
I found that Bill and a lot of others had hit a brick wall with
the army. We agreed to sanitize the radar and delete any function
the army wanted to remain classified. When we addressed their technical
concerns they would bring up some political issue and we would
encourage them to check with the state department. Without the
army’s approval, we would not get an export license. No one
knew how to break through the refusal to let us sell the radar.
The process dragged on until the customer placed the order with
HSA. We had lost but there was more. Soon after our episode the
DIVADS program was cancelled.
My three international trips in ’84 fit between my management
proposal activities. We responded to a USAF requirement and won
the Phase 1 Seek Igloo contract. GE won a parallel award. Dick
Koehler had managed the overall proposal and I managed the technical
volume. We proposed the W-2000 radar we had been developing in-house
and GE proposed a version of the TPS-59 which they were developing
for the USMC. Both were solid-state arrays but ours was a multiple
beam on transmit and receive and theirs was a single pencil beam
which was electronically scanned in elevation. Eventually, in spite
of our performance, Phase 2 was awarded to GE. But when the FAA
refused to qualify their radar for either civil or military air
traffic control, no additional radars were built.
I only took one trip in 1985 after a meeting with Milt and Guy
Bias. Guy had managed the Jordanian Air Defense Program and I hadn’t
seen him in years. He had returned from a trip to China during
which he had accompanied his wife Wilma and her assistant who was
born in China and at first was afraid to go back. Wilma was a Hopkins
PhD who taught dietetics and was doing that at various places in
China. He told us that he was in his hotel one day when he was
asked if he would like to visit a radar factory and that a car
was waiting to take him if he agreed. When he got there he was
greeted by the director of the Telecommunications Institute of
China. He got his tea and tour then was asked some questions about
the ASR-9. He told the director that he didn’t know much
about our current radars but would ask if someone could visit him
who did. Earlier we had sent program teams to Beijing to discuss
our TPS-63 radars but no one had been to Xi’an, the site
of the buried terracotta army in the interior of China. Milt asked
me if I would go and I told him that I would if I was allowed to.
Then he asked Guy if he would go back with me and Bill B. Guy agreed
and Bill made the arrangements. My travel request was approved.
To fit everyone’s schedule, the total round trip would take
four days. We flew to Tokyo then on to Beijing. We spent hours
in the airport before Guy managed to get us to the Wx office which
was located on one floor of a hotel. Our hotel reservations had
not been confirmed and the office manager had the hotel bring beds
to rooms in their office complex and we spent the night there.
The next morning we flew to Xi’an in an Ilyushin prop jet
that we entered through the rear. The seats were so close together
that it was a knees-in-the-chin as well as a white-knuckle flight.
What made it even worse was the smell of fuel that permeated the
When we got to Xi’an, the trip was transformed into a pleasant
experience. We checked into a very modern hotel managed by the
Brits. We were picked up and driven to their Institute in separate
cars. My escort who was also my interpreter had earned his PhD
at CCNY and spoke perfect English. He spent most of the visit close
by and at times I thought he was recording me. As we passed a walled
section on our way to the meeting I asked him who lives there.
He said the farmers. Do you see those carts? - as he pointed to
some carts full of a vegetable about twice as big as a head of
cabbage - that’s what they grow. They are the new capitalists
of China and can now afford TV.
That’s why you see so many antennas on the roofs. He said
that in earlier days his father, who was a doctor, had been forced
to work on a pig farm carrying bags of feed to the pigs that weighed
more than he did. Just before we got to the Institute I said, what
are you doing now? He took me completely by surprise when he answered.
He said the transit receivers. I said which transit and he said
yours, you know, the one you did for the Navy. We’re designing
a receiver for each frequency and a refraction correction unit.
I just said oh.
The director met us inside the gate and walked us in to his office.
We had tea then went into a conference room with about 25 people
present. Nearly everyone in the audience was dressed alike in blue
denim looking outfits except for the director and our interpreters
who wore business suits, and three guys standing in the back who
wore black leather jackets. The director took his seat and nodded
for me to begin. The briefing took about 30 minutes and questions
took another five minutes. Then I gave them an overview of some
of the other radars which I had been cleared to brief including
our ATC radars and the TPS -63 which I told them had already been
licensed for export to China. I was instantly glad that I told
them that because the next question came from one of the leather
jackets. He said what about the W-160 and I said no, that hasn’t
been licensed yet so I can’t talk about it. So they left.
The director never acknowledged they were there. We then spent
time touring the Institute but not any design or test facilities.
We got a tour of their manufacturing facility and then he took
us back to his office. He said that he would be visiting the States
in about a month to review three active programs under contract
at that time with Hughes, Texas Instruments and Raytheon. He was
very interested in the ASR-9 and would like to include a stop in
Baltimore on his way home. Bill said he would coordinate that.
That evening he took the three of us to dinner in a small private
room in a restaurant. We had a drink and he talked to the owner
and ordered the first course. It was a Mongolian fish which he
served in his family tradition. He ordered each course that way
and treated us with an outstanding experience. He arranged a VIP
visit to the museum, built over and around the site of the buried
terracotta army, for the next day. He also had our flight changed
and we flew to Shanghai on a modern jet. We spent the night in
the Kodak office in Shanghai as arranged by our Wx office. All
of their people were traveling and their facility included six
hotel rooms. Some American companies regularly shared their facilities
and we benefitted from that policy since our reservations were
so fouled up. On the way home, I wrote a report containing everything
I thought I would be asked in my debriefing. I knew that some agencies
did not like abrupt changes in travel plans, so I described what
had happened and who I talked to in Wx to fix the problem. A week
after I got back I met the first of three visitors. Before he started
questioning me I asked him to read my report. When he finished
he said he had what he needed. I told him he had the original.
The next two visitors got copies and everything else was destroyed.
It was easier than the time I unknowingly flew to Moscow.
When the director visited us Bill asked him if he had a dining
preference. He said he had eaten American food every day of his
visit and would really like some Chinese food. Bill made reservations
at Chang’s and talked to the owner. He told him who our guest
would be, what he had arranged for us in China and asked him to
do that here. When we got there, the owner greeted us and the director
ordered a Mongolian fish and many other courses nearly duplicating
our dinner in China. When I thanked the owner he said to let him
know if I wanted to do it again. So about two weeks later he did
the same thing for me and my wife and our two daughters, except
he selected the courses.
Black Programs, Egypt
Sometime earlier, Milt said we needed some black programs. He
asked me to contact some managers who briefly mentioned them at
staff meetings he attended and knew that they sometimes formed
the basis for spin-off projects. He was also aware of some of my
previous activities up to his security level. I tried and failed
with two managers. When I got to work one morning I found an instruction
book for a foreign company’s radar on my desk with a note
from one of our program managers saying I thought you could use
this. I locked it away until I could decide what to do with it.
Later that morning, Guntis came into my office and said that he
had been at an event over the weekend at which a close acquaintance
asked him a few questions about surveillance radars. He was surprised
because although each knew where the other worked, they had never
discussed it. Guntis said he would talk to me about it. I said
call him. He asked if he could visit us after lunch. Guntis and
I met him in our lobby and he introduced us to a person he brought
along who had a program with someone at Wx. We walked over to my
office and the first question he asked me was about a foreign radar.
I unlocked my file cabinet and gave him the instruction book I
had found on my desk. I said this should answer all your questions,
but as you can see, it’s in that language. I know about that
radar so I don’t need it. He asked some other questions which
we could answer and some that would take some time. We said we
could get together in a week and he said he would be back.
When we got to the lobby the person who had come with him was
waiting there along with the manager he had been with, John Gregory.
John was surprised when I shook his hand and said nice to have
met you. Guntis was signing them out and they left. John said hey
Lou, what are you doing with my customer? I said shame on you John,
you just violated security by telling me that you have a black
program, who the agency is and who their program manager is. But
I won’t tell anybody if you don’t. At our next meeting,
we gave him answers to all of his questions. We told him that a
lot of his answers were available in the open literature, citing
Jane’s publications as an example. He said he knew that and
then we knew that he had his own agenda and reasons for asking.
He thanked me then started talking about how he thought he could
repay us for our efforts. He told us that his division did not
sponsor programs in the surveillance radar area. Most of their
needs were in other areas which could be of interest to Wx. He
suggested that he could have his department managers and their
section managers brief Wx on their needs at the secret level. One
of the section managers he referred to was the one I met. He was
going to coordinate the meeting and I asked John Gregory to contact
the Wx people interested in the exchange. The meeting was held
in our auditorium. Guntis and I attended with three other people.
The auditorium was half-filled with people representing many of
the specialists from our other divisions. Eventually we were involved
in a black program from that agency, but at its peak, I was managing
six different black programs for a number of different organizations.
The early work that we did on L-band RF modules along with our
antenna work was responsible for the award of two programs which
were the forerunner of today’s wedge tail radar system. For
one program we were contracted to build a full-scale UHF active
aperture array antenna designed for mounting atop a 747. After
pattern tests the customer was satisfied and told me I could dispose
of it. I donated it to Al Melvin, manager of our antenna building
which I had used earlier in my career, and he hung it on the wall.
We tried to apply it to a mountain top experiment in Hawaii some
years later, and also to an airship surveillance application but
could not use it to anyone’s advantage.
I was able to borrow Jim Mims for a spatially adaptive signal
processor requirement on one of the black programs I was managing.
His reputation preceded him and his contribution was outstanding.
It was easy to measure customer satisfaction on black programs.
The customer placed a lot of trust in you, gave you a lot of freedom,
didn’t worry about mil-specs and paid well. And I never met
a pompous individual at any level of the military or government
on any of those programs.
Were you still in the surveillance radar division?
Yes. Actually, I was the Engineering Manager of the Surveillance
Radar Division for five years, from late’81 until late’86.
During that time, in early 84, Milt was in Egypt to negotiate a
co-production contract for 34 TPS-63 radars. They would be produced
by the Egyptian company Benha. Milt called me and asked what it
would cost to add a feature to the radar and I told him, but he
later told me he had to eat it. Earlier we had a fly off against
a French radar in their final attempt to win this business. After
some low-level jamming runs, they lost. Jim Luck was now managing
our TPS-63 business and he and his team spent a lot of air time
between here and Cairo, along with Jack Standish who was then our
Wx in-country manager, pursuing this program. After we won, Jim
assigned the program to Charlie Pilgrim and he and his family moved
to Egypt while he managed it. Jim later told me that one of his
daughters spent some time in Egypt as the au pair for Jack’s
family which I thought was a very rare opportunity for an American.
Basin Radar Network, Management Changes
During that time we had the opportunity to compete our multiple
beam radar architecture against the GE electronic scan pencil beam
architecture for the Caribbean Basin Radar Network. Dick Koehler
managed the proposal and I managed the technical volume. We competed
the TPS-70 against GE’s TPS-59. The proposal required an
analysis of simulated system performance in rain and ground clutter
using models included with the request for proposal. I asked John
Taylor to prepare our response. I also asked him to prepare an
analysis of the GE radar. We knew enough about their radar and
its data processor to enable an analysis of their system using
the same models. To protect ourselves, we defined their radar as
a generic 3D long range radar, etc. Our analysis showed that we
would meet the required performance and that the other radar would
not. But we did not want to hide our data in an appendix to the
proposal which might not be read. So after some word-smithing,
we settled on a paragraph which stated: “Most 3D radar designs
stumble fatally because they are fundamentally unable to quickly
collect the vast quantities of data that are essential to provide
surveillance over a large volume in a complex environment. Their
data rate suffers as either the surveillance volume or the target
load increases. The solution to this dilemma is either to shrink
the coverage and operate with more radars, or add beams to the
radar with independent receivers and signal processors. The TPS-70
exemplifies the most recent 3D radar coupling simultaneous beam
architecture to the latest technology to solve the data rate problem.” We
also provided a cross-reference index which linked every requirement
in the spec to the page and paragraph which described our response.
We won the contract.
In late ’84, Maurice Ani retired and Ed Silcott replaced
him as Milt’s manager. Jim Allen was replaced by Jack Tymann
as GM of AWACS, also reporting to Ed. Then in September of 1986,
Harry Smith retired, Dick Linder took over as president of the
Defense Business Unit, and Milt took over as GM, Command and Control
Divisions, when Ed Silcott took Linder’s previous spot as
GM, Aerospace Divisions. Wally Hoff took over as GM, Surveillance
Radar Division. In September of 1986 the UK re-opened the competition
for their AEW requirement. Jack Tymann spent most of his time pursuing
this program and in December it was announced that Boeing had won
by beating the British Nimrod. The UK seven lot was soon joined
by the French four lot and Jack now added the production of 11
new AWACS radar systems to his responsibilities.
Okay. So what do you do now?
I was still Milt’s engineering manager, only now that his
span of control increased to three divisions I managed the engineering
which supported them. I added Garth Mackenzie as manager of Air
Defense Systems and Bill Gretsch as Engineering Manager of AWACS
programs, both in support of Tymann’s Division. That was
the organization I managed for the next two years.
Proposal Work, NFR90 and NAAWS, Paris Air Show
During that time work continued on the Jordan Air Defense System,
the Saudi Peace Pulse System and tactical air defense systems for
Venezuela, Australia and Mexico. Proposal work had begun on the
Saudi Peace Shield Program which Jack was leading. Meanwhile, in
addition to delivering its backlog of ASR-9, Mode-S, TPS-70 and
TPS-63 radars, several tethered aerostat radars were sold. The
CARIBALL program covered needs in the Caribbean, the LASS program
covered needs along the Southwest border of the USA, and LASS systems
were sold to Egypt and Kuwait. The system in Kuwait provided early
warning of Iraq’s invasion permitting the Emir to escape.
A major effort was begun trying to become a second source supplier
for the Navy’s AEGIS radar system. Most of us felt that we
won this job. When it was announced that if the Navy awarded a
second-source contract there would be a big layoff at RCA, the
Navy cancelled the second-source requirement. And then there was
a big layoff at RCA. I think that about then Milt developed a proposal
mantra that said if you have the best technical solution at the
lowest cost and promise the earliest delivery, you might win a
third of the time. It was yet another way to lose.
During this time, Bernie Harris was managing the NFR90 program
which now reported to me. Westinghouse was the US Navy’s
representative in this study to determine the feasibility of building
a common NATO frigate. Bernie brought his experience from the Taiwan
frigate to this project and had done a masterful job in defining
work sharing among the member nations as well as among the US companies
involved. But problems arose with the weapons systems. The US Navy
and most of the other members wanted the NATO almost standard missile,
the McDonnell Douglas Harpoon, except the French who wanted to
use their Exocet. Further, the Brits wanted a short range point
defense weapon system. Next a NATO staff would prepare an MOU for
each country which would lead to the project definition stage.
In the meantime, the US Navy issued an RFP. We bid and won Phase
1 of the Naval Anti-Air Warfare System, NAAWS. Although conducted
by the US Navy, it was destined for other navies, some common with
the list of the NFR-90. I assigned this program to Bernie as well.
At the conclusion of the study, it was decided that we would ask
McDonnell Douglas to take over phase 2 of the program and Wally
Hoff and I flew to St. Louis to determine their interest. Our only
condition was that we wanted to maintain control over the sensor
suite and command and control subsystems and they agreed. Wally
told McD that I would be the Wx executive program manager which
meant that I would have to travel to executive reviews in a number
of the member countries. When those visits were added to my other
scheduled trips I was going to be spending a lot of time in the
A summary from my travel log shows that my one trip in ’86
took me to London and Madrid. In April ’87, Wally and I visited
Rome for teaming talks with Alenia. In May, Vic Grams, our TAFLIR
program manager, and I visited our TAFLIR customer to discuss a
pending air traffic control radar purchase. Our customer was the
same person to whom I had described our original TAFLIR approach.
The spec called for a radar that could be supplied by a number
of companies. Our ASR-9 was an overkill. The Swiss can use sections
of their autobahns as emergency runways by adding a radar nearby,
some landing lights and links to their air defense and air traffic
control centers. I described a radar that used the ASR-9 antenna
and a scaled down TAFLIR transmitter and receiver/processor which
could actually use modules identical to those in their spares inventory.
Our customer was very interested in the common logistics aspect
of our plan and said he would try to get agreement from his management
to tailor the requirement to our approach. But he could not. So
we no-bid. The contract was awarded to Alenia. A month later, Milt,
Wally and I flew to London. We were scheduled to meet Plessey at
their facility. Their limo took us south where we took a hovercraft
to the Isle of Wight for the meeting. I gave our briefing, we had
the meeting then a great dinner and joke and storytelling session
which Wally and I dropped out of but Milt prevailed against superior
numbers and upheld the reputation of the colonies. We then flew
to the Paris Air Show.
One evening Milt and I were scheduled for dinner with the CEO
and Marketing Manager of Alenia who I knew from prior visits. He
knew that I spoke Italian, but he interpreted for his CEO. Historically
this company had cleaned our clock in some third world countries.
After dinner Milt asked him how he was able to bid such low prices
for his ATC radars in small lot sizes. I wasn’t as surprised
by Milt’s question as I was by the answer. He told his interpreter
to tell Milt that when they got an order for their radars or other
electronics from the Italian military, they would tell their factory
to build some subsystems or mechanical parts for their ATC business
and put them in storage. When they had an opportunity to bid a
job, marketing would look at the competition and decide what they
had to bid to win and that’s how they built their sell price.
We defined it as an illegal skunkworks in our factory. And when
the word skunk was translated, he smiled. I asked his interpreter
to tell him what was meant by a skunkworks and then he laughed
and nodded his head.
Marketing wanted to feature the TPS-70 at this air show and it
was located alongside the Thomson-CSF tactical radar directly in
front of a two story building with an overview of the airfield.
Thomson always reserved this choice location which gave their guests
the best view of activities every afternoon. I joined Milt for
some teaming talks with their management during one afternoon.
Later, they asked if their engineering managers could exchange
visits to our radars and Milt said sure, Lou will do that. Then
we walked into their huge hospitality room and to the windows to
watch the show. Slightly to our left we saw our radar antenna turning.
Our marketing had arranged to have our Westinghouse logo, the circle
bar W painted in white on its face. It was 12 feet in diameter
and swept by every visitor’s face every 12 seconds. Later
four of their engineering managers and I went through their tactical
radar shelters. Their transmitter drivers and final power amplifier
were housed in one shelter. It was a tube type system and quite
old. They rarely had the opportunity to upgrade their design. A
second shelter contained their receivers, signal processors and
their IFF interrogator and the third contained displays, maintenance
equipment and spares. When I took them inside our shelter they
were impressed with the compactness of everything and asked to
see the transmitter. I opened the access door and showed them our
solid-state modulator and pulled one of the modules - that impressed
them most of all. We never competed with them again for the rest
of my career. In September I visited The Hague and Madrid with
McD’s NAAWS Management.
In February of ’88 Wally Hoff took over as GM of the Development
and Engineering Division, Russ Bahner took over as GM of SRD. Herb
Nunnally took over as GM of the Communications Division and I added
the System’s Engineering Department to my list of responsibilities.
Within the next two years we recorded a number of significant wins.
After losing the competition for the NEXRAD Doppler weather radar,
our ATC department sold our transmitter which was almost a copy
of our ASR-9 transmitter to the winner. Next, our early solid-state
RF module developments continued to pay off when SRD booked the
solid-state transmitter replacement for the Navy’s SPS-40
radar. This followed our earlier contracts for solid-state upgrades
for the SPS-37/43 radars. But the largest package of power we ever
sold was for the Beam Experiments Aboard a Rocket, or BEAR Program.
This was an SDI program which provided sufficient UHF power for
a neutral particle beam ionization experiment. As implied by its
name, the system was launched aboard a rocket and the experiment
was successful. Milt continued to fund solid-state development
at the device level where, working with Gene Strull and our research
labs, we started the development of a broad band RF silicon transistor
and high power silicon carbide devices. Al Morse was our design
interface for these activities and Derrick Page was both our device
and applications expert.
Also early that year I got a call from our AWACS program office.
They said that a Lt. Colonel at one of their meetings would like
to visit me after lunch. He was dropped off and introduced himself
then told me that he was one of the lieutenants in the audience
when Gary Evans and I visited RADC ten years before. He said he
would like an update of our design capabilities. I called Gary
and asked him to join us and Gary gave him a quick overview on
the white board in my office. Then I took him to see some of the
antennas we were building. I asked him if he would like to visit
the test range and he said yes. So I drove him there and one of
the test people showed him around. I asked him where he had to
go next and he wanted to go back to my office. He told me that
he was going to make arrangements for a meeting to be held in one
of our secure rooms at a facility we had out back. I could bring
one systems engineer and one contracts person, both with TS clearances
to the meeting. Within a week we booked the first in a series of
black programs related to the buzz word of the time, stealth. I
didn’t see him again for over a year. We were in different
groups in our executive dining room and he broke off and tapped
me on the arm. He just said hello and said call me the next time
you’re up north, which I did. His group was responsible for
the award of similar contracts some of which we booked.
Lincoln Labs, ARSR-4
We soon were awarded contracts for the antenna and transmitter
modules for an experimental radar being developed by MIT Lincoln
Labs for the Navy. It was ultimately known as the Radar Surveillance
Technology Experimental Radar, RSTER. We developed an ultra-low
side-lobe antenna which contained 14 channels of antenna elements.
The received data was digitized and processed to achieve adaptive
beam-forming, then all of the known processing functions followed.
In short, this was part of the most advanced radar we had ever
worked on in the surveillance radar division. We tried repeatedly
to have Lincoln let us design a piece of the processor but they
retained that in-house. Our antenna group did their usual great
job on this design and Mike Fitelson managed the program. Lincoln
Labs did their usual excellent job in developing an exceptional
radar. Some years later its highly successful performance was described
in the Lincoln Laboratory Journal. The article includes a picture
of our antenna and a figure showing the 55 dB below isotropic performance
achieved by our ultra low side-lobe antenna.
In mid-year the RFP for the ARSR-4 Radar was issued. This radar
was the sensor for joint use by the FAA and the US Air Force. Accordingly,
each organization had added its unique needs to the specification.
The USAF specified a look down beam for cruise missile detection
and the FAA specified circular polarization to enhance performance
in weather. Our competition was GE and the Raytheon/Marconi team.
We knew that we had to be compliant and that neither of our competitors
could comply with their planar array antenna approaches without
changing the laws of physics. So our resident genius, Coleman Miller,
designed an antenna whose curved reflector was fed by a curved
multiple beam array. In deference to reflector critics, we named
it an array fed aperture. We used multiple beams on both transmit
and receive and programmable Doppler processors. But as good as
we thought we were, we had to respond to Milt’s mantra. We
had to be the low bidder. Milt asked me to develop target costs
for production. I got help from Bob Fowler who was engineering
manager of the Mode-S, and along with team members from purchasing
and manufacturing we put that picture together. I managed the technical
proposal and Guntis managed the separate system’s engineering
volume required by the spec. This was the only time we ever saw
that volume separately specified. We supposed that since it contained
all performance analyses proving that the radar would perform as
specified in the presence of ground, sea and weather clutter along
with jamming and in the presence of migrant birds that the FAA
was going to use it to settle any issues with the Air Force. Guntis
coordinated all of the inputs from system’s engineering.
The FAA later told us that it was the finest proposal volume they
had ever seen. I reviewed it and did not change a thing. We had
to be low bidder to win this job and we were. At the award price
of over 400 million dollars, it was the highest single-value contract
we received while I was Milt’s engineering manager. Milt
assigned Ken Lee program manager of the ARSR-4 and I assigned Bob
Fowler as engineering manager. That win was soon followed by the
award of the AWACS RSIP program. Bill Gretsch was already in place
as EM of AWACS programs. Milt assigned Hank Airth as RSIP program
By this time was most of your effort devoted to US customers?
Most of my time was always devoted to US customers. My overseas
travels fit into my work here which always took priority.
Engineering Department, Export Regulations
When I took over the Systems Engineering Department its managers
now reported to me. The sections within the department contained
system architects, analysts, and software engineers which were
usually assigned to programs within the command and control divisions.
Also, I was now responsible for allocating IR&D funds to design
and systems engineering in support of CCD’s three divisions.
I had a very capable manager, Rene Rosenthal, who I was able to
promote to act as my deputy in the management of IR&D and administrative
tasks associated with the 350 people in systems engineering while
I managed the technical aspects of the overall engineering organization.
Dr. Joe Conroy was managing most of systems engineering and we
set up reviews of all of their study programs and other work not
covered elsewhere. We treated IR&D tasks, both in systems engineering
and in equipment design engineering as programs. Rene had the unenviable
task of preparing the recovery brochure for all of our IR&D
tasks to the satisfaction of Dr. Pan and we never failed to score
highly in the recovery process. We also reviewed tasks that were
funded by Milt’s margin when we had a convincing need. He
provided most of the funds we needed for broadband RF and silicon
carbide device development until we could attain other coverage.
Whenever I allocated profit dollars I would pass on a message that
I got from Maurice Ani years before when Jackson reported to him.
Having been a GM in the East building he knew about all of the
One day at lunch he encouraged me to campaign for more IR&D,
B&P funds controlled by Dr. Pan and also larger overhead budgets.
Obviously he knew that Jackson was funding a lot of development.
In fact, he encouraged Art Monheit to do the same thing when he
managed the Navy and communications businesses. He said, “remember
Lou, costs are recoverable, profit is not.” So it was hard
for me to spend profit dollars. Most engineers don’t know
or care where money comes from. And many - having never led a proposal
or dealt with the market place - don’t know how difficult
it is to win most contracts. But every engineer I supervised or
later managed knew when he was spending profit dollars. During ’88,
System’s Engineering won 18 of the 20 study and development
programs they bid. Additionally, the department’s work force
was spread over nearly 80 funded projects, programs and proposals.
A snapshot of the work load during that period for the software
budget center would show that the larger software engineering needs
were those of the ARSR-4, 16; AWACS, 24; Mexico, six: Peace Shield,
eight; and Special Programs, 16. The other three budget centers
showed varying workloads, some as low as one in the case of a six-month
study using two people. My new organization was rounded out by
the addition of Dick Koehler. Dick had managed the TPS-43 and TPS-70
programs’ organizations from the proposal through sell-off
of nearly 200 radars. Milt assigned Bert Drummond and others to
assume Dick’s previous responsibilities in the programs organization.
And that is pretty much how we finished the decade of the eighties.
During late ‘87 I was requested to represent Westinghouse
on the team that would rewrite the technical portion of the export
regulations. At the initial meeting in an office complex near DC
I was assigned the radar category. I had Guntis help me and we
both attended the subsequent meetings. The additional categories
covering computers and communications were assigned to us. In establishing
limits we selected 35 dB as the exportable side-lobe level. During
this assignment we had access to a great deal of information covering
performance of most foreign and domestic radars. Other information
was made available to us but nothing written or recorded could
be removed from the facility, including copies of our own work.
During 1988 and 1989 the engineering managers and I set up weekly
reviews of every program within the divisions they represented.
Additionally, Milt scheduled reviews of programs within his divisions
conducted by his program managers that I was scheduled to attend.
Finally, I would conduct reviews of our other programs at either
our facilities or at customer facilities which required that I
travel in and around the Pentagon and also make required trips
to Boston, New York and once to NORAD’s facility in Cheyenne
Mountain in Colorado.
So now you have the engineering responsibility for FAA programs,
surveillance radar programs, AWACS, air defense systems, and total
responsibility for the special programs you mentioned.
Yes, and also the Systems Engineering Department and our consultants,
John Taylor, Coleman Miller and Omar Jacomini. But remember what
I said earlier. I had an outstanding senior management team reporting
to me and of course that’s the key to any manager’s
success. I felt very comfortable when I travelled because of that.
Further Travels, Spain
And in ’88 and ’89 I had to have extension pages added
to my passport. My travel log shows that in those two years I made
14 trips to Europe. I made two trips to Rome - one was with Wally
Hoff, a DIVADS engineer and Len Scherer, a manufacturing estimator
pursuing a teaming agreement with Alenia for a US requirement.
The second was with Russ Bahner who took over as SRD manager when
Wally took over as GM of the Development and Engineering Division
and became my administrative manager. I attended the air shows
in London in’88 and Paris in ’89. McD had scheduled
a number of NAAWS meetings with NATO in Mons, Belgium and The Hague
as well as meetings with the admirals and staffs of the Navies
of member countries. On most trips we visited two or three countries
and went to different naval and company facilities in those countries.
In all, I visited Madrid, Munich, Bonn, Wilhelmshaven, Uberlingen,
Brussels, and The Hague.
I also made a trip to Madrid to meet Bernie Harris and his Spanish
Naval customer. While at the air show our London office was requested
to set up a meeting for Milt and I with the Spanish radar company
Ceselsa. They were developing a solid-state L-band radar for the
Spanish Air Force and their customer suggested that they contact
us. As I told you earlier, we had sold the TPS-43 to both the Spanish
Air Force and the Spanish Army. At my first meeting they described
their architecture and I told them that it looked like a close
cousin of the Marconi Martello radar. They said yes, they knew.
They had talked to GE and Marconi and both companies wanted to
supply their own radars. But the Spanish government wanted to establish
their company as a radar supplier for Spain and in the long term
for South America. I said, are you aware that we just beat them
both with our ARSR-4? They said yes, that’s why we were asked
to contact you. They showed me the hardware they had designed and
their data processing approach and I told them that I would discuss
it at home. I would call them within two days and I would visit
them again if necessary on my next scheduled visit. When I got
back I told Milt that I didn’t think we could crack the government’s
position in wanting to develop an indigenous capability without
a lot of whatever it took to change their minds. I said it was
going to take them a long time to catch up to the Marconi radar,
maybe over five years, and when they did they would suffer from
its deficiencies. We agreed to offer them a co-development package
for our W-2000 radar, but tell them that the reason we didn’t
propose it for the ARSR-4 was because it lacked polarization diversity
and was more costly to produce than our winning approach. We could
also offer them a co-production package such as that which we were
contracted for in Egypt and pursue other markets as partners. I
called them the next morning and told them my schedule. I also
called our London office representatives who they knew very well.
They did want to talk some more so I planned to include a re-visit
on my next trip. On that trip, I met Bert Drummond who introduced
me to his former customer, Air Force General M. who was now Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Spain. He had earlier spent time
at ESD, Hanscom as a NATO exchange officer. He knew a lot about
Wx and was very friendly. He had suggested that Ceselsa contact
us. He was also another of the finest and classiest gentlemen I’ve
ever met. He took Bert and I to dinner at his private club. I told
him what we had told Ceselsa. They were very interested but he
didn’t think that anything was going to get the government
to change their minds. He asked me if I would consider conducting
a one-day radar seminar for some radar engineers in the Spanish
military. I told him I thought I could get permission and asked
how many and he said most of them. As he suspected, Ceselsa was
told to go it alone. We gave them a few tips but five years later
they still had not deployed the radar. Guntis and I were hosted
at the seminar that was arranged about three months later. General
M. had completed his tour as CJSF and was replaced by an Army general.
The auditorium was nearly filled with Army and Air Force engineers.
Then in November ’88 my wife and I vacationed in Brussels,
Rome and Madrid. In April ’89, we vacationed in The Hague,
Salzburg, Venice, Vaduz and Zurich. We flew into Amsterdam and
took the train to The Hague. At the train station a very nice gentleman
helped my wife aboard as he picked her wallet out of her purse.
He stole $1000 worth of traveler’s checks for which I had
the receipt. They were replaced within 30 minutes after we arrived
at our hotel in The Hague. While there we stayed in a resort hotel
at the beach near the home of the US Defense attaché to
Holland, formerly the desk officer to Yugoslavia that I had travelled
with. My wife and I both got lucky at the casino in the hotel one
night and nearly paid for our vacation with our winnings. It really
was a great trip. We drove down the Rhine stopping in Bonn long
enough to take Jack Standish and his wife to lunch, then picked
up our daughter Eileen in Munich and spent time in Salzburg and
Venice and after she left, we visited Lichtenstein where I was
able to add some stamps and coins to my collections which had been
hard to find in the USA. My last trip in ’89 was also a vacation
trip. My wife and I spent the week before Christmas in Spain visiting
Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. Then we flew to Salzburg and met
our daughters Eileen and Kerry and Kerry’s husband, our son-in-law
Paul Freedman. We spent Christmas week in Salzburg. Our friend
Fred Popodi who had retired to Salzburg after his Wx career skied
with the three of them in the Austrian Alps while Nan and I waited
in a comfortable chalet.
Unit Reorganization, Israel
In February of 1990 I attended my final NFR-90 meeting, this time
in Hamburg, Germany. The program was winding down, the Brits were
moving toward their own design and some of the other team members
were focusing on the NAAWS program. In March of 1990, the business
unit re-organized. Seven non-DOD related divisions were grouped
as Ed Silcott’s Commercial Systems Divisions. In my reporting
chain Kelly Overman replaced Wally Hoff as my manager. Milt was
now GM of the Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence
Divisions which included the communications, electronic warfare
and space divisions and the AEW Department. My only trip in 1990
was to Madrid with McD to wrap up the NAAWS contract. Kelly now
managed all of the systems engineers in the business unit and my
reviews were now held in his office. I continued to attend engineering
and program reviews for Milt’s divisions.
Early in ’91, I was asked to attend a meeting in the Israeli
embassy. As a result I was asked to visit Israel. Kelly had been
planning a trip along with one of his marketing people so we went
together. When we got to Tel Aviv we were accompanied by a representative
of El Ul, the company that represented Wx in Israel. I had known
him for years through our previous TPS-43 contracts and tethered
aerostat payload work. He was also a major in the IAF when called
to duty. Kelly had many things to brief at AF headquarters and
with IAI because they had a large line of military products which
they were selling in various parts of the world. My focus was on
surveillance. During the recent war, which they were asked to stay
out of, the building in which we were meeting was a Scud missile
target. They knew that their TPS-43 radars could be modified to
serve as the Patriot’s acquisition radar as did most of our
TPS-43 customers. We were told on that trip that the Patriots caused
more damage than the Scuds since they were using their tracking
radar as an acquisition radar thus waiting too long to engage.
Interceptions were made too close to the target instead of close
to the launch point. I’ve described it that way because that
was the reason that caused them to develop their own protection
in the future. At one point the US suggested the Pave PAWS radar
as a solution. The IAF asked us about our UHF solid-state capabilities.
We had finished the BEAR program which by itself answered all of
their questions and was a much more modern solution. They decided
to develop an L-band active aperture array 3D surveillance and
tracking radar for their Arrow missile which they were also developing.
When we visited IAI their engineers showed us some early T/R module
work they were doing and asked for my critique of their approach.
I told them that we would approach the design in the same way and
they said they knew that because they had read copies of all of
the papers we had published. They had copies of brochures from
every L-band radar supplier that I was familiar with except the
Japanese. Later, Kelly described his systems and software organization’s
capabilities as they applied to their requirements for the radar/missile
interface which was one of his areas of expertise used in their
F-16 radars. We offered to help them design the radar or any sub-system
just as I had in a number of countries over the years.
On the evening of July 28th we were having dinner near the beach
in Tel Aviv. We were with a couple of IAF officers and as I looked
across the restaurant I saw an officer at another table handing
a note to another officer and pointing at our table. He walked
over to our table and handed the note to our rep. It was a message
for me which had been routed through IAF headquarters announcing
the birth of my first granddaughter. When I told our table they
all lifted their glasses and as I looked across the room, so did
the group at the other table. Later our rep told me that the IAF
has a very short chain of command and only nine total stars on
their generals and seven of them toasted her birth. Visiting Israel
was a revelation to me. Since Kelly was a GM, our rep arranged
for a VIP tour of Jerusalem. The owner of Israel’s leading
tour company took us to Jerusalem in a small size limo. Both on
the way there and back he filled us in on the history of Israel
from 1948, when he defected from Great Britain to Israel with a
planeload of weapons and joined the fight, through his life there
to that time. He stopped when some landmark or event or place was
reached such as their Tank Museum. He took us on a walking tour
of Jerusalem that went beyond any normal tourist tour. After getting
a close view of what they had done in turning a wasteland into
what they have, and all the while under the threats of people who
want to kill them, I was amazed. When we got back I told Kelly
and Milt that those guys were going to make it with their radar
design. With all of the hardware we had there, added to our reputation
as a top quality company, we had a lot going for us, except one
thing. We didn’t live there. If they wanted to do something,
they would do it.
of Westinghouse Airships, Incorporated
In July of ’91 Bill Adams was promoted to GM and the AEW
department became a division. He asked me to take over the airship
business as President of Westinghouse Airships, Incorporated. Over
the years I had been asked if I was interested in moving to another
job and I said I wanted to stay. The first came from our Bay Bridge
facility after the Deep Submergence Program. I was a supervisor
and offered a section manager position. John Gitt had triggered
it. Next came an offer from Tom Porter in our Programs Department.
Then an offer of an assignment in Pittsburgh came through Dick
Linder soon after he promoted me to manager of the Power Generation
Section, all of which I declined. When my next offer from Pittsburgh
came through Dick he said they’re after you again. I told
him I wasn’t going anywhere and he said good, I think you’re
going to have a great career right here. Two other offers followed,
one to manage a company Wx purchased in Ohio, and another to interview
for a division GM position also in Ohio. When an opportunity occurred
in one of Milt’s divisions he said do you want the Division?
I said only if you need me to do it. You know I don’t like
to get too far from engineering. But this time was different. When
I asked him if he wanted me to manage the airship business he said
oh no, this time you’ve got to make your own decision. In
the last re-organization, Milt’s surveillance radar business
including ATC and the air defense systems were moved to Bill Jones.
Right and we've interviewed him.
At about this time I had just finished taking my wife to several
specialists to find the source of her severe weight loss problem.
It was finally pinpointed as hyperthyroidism and treated by a doctor
recommended by our doctor/nephew. It’s now September and
at lunch Bill Adams told me he was in a real bind. He didn’t
want anyone else to manage the program so I told him I would do
it. The announcement that I was going to head the airship business
was simultaneous with Jim Pitts’ move to be GM of the AF
Avionics Division. These moves eliminated a layer of management
and the six departments that Jim and I had been managing now reported
directly to Kelly.
What was Westinghouse Airships, Incorporated?
In the late ’80’s, Wx had teamed with the British
company Airship Industries and the team beat out Goodyear and won
a contract to build a modern airship for the US Navy. Work had
progressed to the point that a full-size mockup of the gondola
had been built and a one-fifth scale airship which was 220-feet
long was being built. Airship Industries had produced a number
of commercial airships for companies like MetLife, Fuji and Budweiser.
These were built to commercial standards. Sales had fallen off
and the company was heading for a fall which would jeopardize the
Navy program. Milt renegotiated the Navy fixed price contract to
a CPFF development contract for over 375 million dollars. Less
than 10 % was funded. Also, Wx bought the company which by
mid-’91 resided in the AEW division along with the AWACS.
Bill Adams was now managing the division. When Westinghouse bought
Airships Industries it was renamed Westinghouse Airships, Incorporated
and I took over as its president.
So did you move to the UK to do that?
You did that from right here in Baltimore.
Yes. We shared a hanger in Elizabeth City, NC with T-Com. We had
an organization of airship designers in Luton, in the UK, and we
did our part of it right here in Baltimore. As I said earlier,
the program was grossly underfunded. As we tried to get the Navy
to provide additional funding for the full-scale airship - the
Sentinel 5000 - we also tried to sell smaller airships like the
Sentinel 1000 which we were building in NC. After about a month
in my new job it was determined, after a stress test, that my wife
would need open heart surgery. I was very concerned about her health
but her rapid recovery and her attitude reduced my anxiety. In
late November she said she wanted to test out her new self and
we took a trip to Salzburg.
We had discovered the reasons for our funding problems. The underlying
problem occurred because the airship was not specifically called
out in the congressional budget. Our political liaison office was
given that problem and Milt, Bill Adams and I took several trips
to DC whenever we were asked to help. Additionally we hosted various
groups of Congressmen, Senators and Navy Admirals at the hangar
in Elizabeth City. After a briefing we would take them up for a
ride and talk about the types of payloads we had funded or were
proposing. But even after it was budgeted, the NAVAIR Admirals
were concerned that all money spent on the airship would be deducted
from their fixed-wing aircraft needs. When an experiment was conducted
using an aerostat tethered to an AEGIS cruiser for its protection
it nearly matched an airship approach we had proposed. However,
our payloads during AEGIS experiments were limited to radio communications
and passive detection. Now we had support from NAVAIR if we could
get NAVSEA to foot the bill, but they had the same concerns that
any money they allocated to the airship would come out of their
hides. For a short period of time, DARPA was given responsibility
for the program and was preparing for a role in what was simply
known as the mountaintop experiment. Milt and I met with the head
of the administration and another person. Much earlier that person
had attended a meeting in one of our secure facilities, SCIFS.
We were reviewing the performance we had achieved during testing
of the full-size UHF antenna I described earlier. During that meeting
I told him that we would give them that antenna and other hardware
if they would sponsor an airship supplement to the mountaintop
experiment. Although they gave us some support toward that task,
it never matured into a program. Again, funding was sparse. The
program which I mentioned earlier where we provided an ULSA to
Lincoln Labs was being funded by SECNAV and they were very successful
with the mountaintop tests. In the meantime, Jim Luck - who had
transferred to the program - was visiting military facilities with
emerging requirements. In one case he had followed an Army requirement
which looked like a sole source award until the command it was
handed off to decided to compete it and ultimately killed it. In
the meantime Jud Brandreath visited every prospect or potential
prospect around the world. As directed by the Navy, their funds
were used to develop a top down/flow down of requirements and we
allocated most of those funds to Joe Conroy’s system engineers.
We had one last shot at the mountaintop at a meeting arranged
by Lou Folzer who was responsible for developing every operational
naval scenario in which the airship could play a role. His timelines
easily showed the need for an airborne platform to protect surface
assets and were followed by hard data showing the cost effectiveness
of the airship compared with all other platforms. His results were
indisputable and no one disagreed. The subject of the meeting was
the performance of the Airship in support of operations in regions
such as the Arabian Gulf littoral. We used our UHF mountaintop
radar as our straw man approach. Everyone agreed with our approach.
When the Admiral asked for comments, the only comment came from
APL’s representative who asked me if we had run any system
simulations at L-band and I said we had not. I‘ve spent a
lot of time talking about our funding problems but I don’t
want to overlook the great design that Roger Monk and his team
turned out for us. I visited our facility in the UK just once and
addressed all of the employees. I wound up my talk with the hope
that we would soon win a contract from their MOD and soon after
that Gordon Adams, who had been with the airship program since
its inception, brought it in. On that trip I visited Ferranti in
Wales who were designing the flight control computers. The system
was based on the Motorola 68020 architecture and they went through
a complete review of their software and schedule. All aerodynamic
control surfaces of the airship were optically signaled through fiber
optic data links making their subsystem part of the world’s
first fly-by-light flight control system. The airship was assembled,
tested and flight certified at the Weeksville facility. Those activities
were managed by Rudy D’Urbano.
Gridlock, Chilean Air Show, Mexico
In February ’92, Bill Adams and I visited Bangkok and met
with the chief of their National Police Force. He wanted to hear
our solution to the constant gridlock problem being experienced
in Bangkok. Bill and I experienced it on the morning of the meeting
when we took a cab from our hotel to his office 12 blocks away
on the opposite side of the street. The first four blocks took
20 minutes and the next four took 15. We walked the next four in
under ten very hot minutes. He was interested in our approach which
included a large horizontal TV display augmented by a video generated
street map. The operator could control street lights remotely and
direct officers to where they were needed. We told him that we
could tailor the payload a number of ways for night vision or as
airship industries had done in Paris, provide police with a detailed
video map of the city for pursuit needs. The next day we found
out that he could not get approval to use an airship because it
would be capable of looking down at bases and facilities managed
by the Army and the Army’s commanding general would not permit
it. It sounded to us like the two of them were from different countries.
Our rep told us that they each commanded comparably sized organizations
and were constantly in turf battles. Among the chief’s five
cars were a Bentley, Mercedes and Lincoln. Our rep took Bill and
I to dinner but just after we ordered he got a phone call from
the chief asking us to join him at another restaurant. He cancelled
our order and drove us to a spectacular restaurant where we joined
the chief and his guest. She was a beautiful young lady who Bill
and I agreed would get our vote for Miss Thailand. Bill and I flew
to Singapore where we met Milt and attended their air show.
In March I was asked to attend the Air show in Santiago, Chile.
Our international marketing manager for South America was Harry
Goldberg and before I left I asked him who he expected me to brief.
He said I was the only one going so I should be ready to discuss
the ASR-9 and Mode-S, the TPS-70 and tactical air defense, and
the W-160 and SPS-58LR. He said he could find no interest in airships.
My first briefing was scheduled for the following day at the headquarters
of the AAF, the Chilean FAA. Our booth was close to the US FAA
booth and I introduced myself to their regional manager. Harry
told him of our scheduled briefing and he asked if he could come
along. Our in-country representative who I had met in Baltimore
took care of all hospitality arrangements, drove us everywhere
we visited in Chile and took us to the meeting. The next day he
drove us to naval headquarters in Valparaiso where I briefed our
Navy radars. We had lunch with four Naval officers at a restaurant
that was advertised as being in the Pacific Ocean. It was on a
point of land that was beyond where seals were sunning themselves.
We could see them behind us through the thick plate glass windows
that surrounded us. The next day I briefed the Chief of Staff of
the Air Force whose primary interest was the TPS-70 and its mobility.
When I toured the show and gathered a few brochures I visited the
largest exhibit at the show, that of Israel. I was surprised at
the amount of different equipment they offered. The following month
Kelly had been requested to provide some additional RF module information
to Israel and asked me to go along with the two engineers being
sent. One was Mike Fitelson and the other was my son-in-law Paul
Freedman. After our meetings, our representative asked if we would
like to visit Jerusalem. He made the same arrangements for us as
on my previous visit and, remembering my previous visit, the owner
of the tour company took us on a different tour stopping at different
places on the way making it another enjoyable and informative visit.
In July I visited Mexico with our senior airship marketer where
we met our in-country representatives, a man and wife team. He
was a rocket scientist and she handled the business when he was
at a launch. We briefed the air defense users on an airship with
a multi-sensor surveillance system, Radar, IR, TV and low-light
level TV. Our reps said they would shop it around to other organizations
potentially interested. During the next few months we were occasionally
getting calls from them and I started putting together a modular
proposal which described the system we were discussing. By this
time we had prepared a specification for the airship and its estimated
cost which is as far as I ever took a bid. At Wx, signature responsibility
started at the GM. Often, customers and partners were deceived
by titles such as president or director. In my case, Bill and Milt
were in my chain. I had also been preparing a priced catalog of
payloads which included several different radars, E/O sensors and
eventually some lightweight weapons systems.
In July I visited the Canadian company which provided fuel cells
for a fleet of buses hoping to provide an alternative power source
for the future. I was interested in the power-to-weight ratio which
they could achieve for an airship application but they were years
away from meeting our needs. At the time we were carrying a 150
gallon bag of gasoline to fuel the two souped up Porsche engines
we used to propel the airship. As an adjunct to our business we
would maintain, repair and paint the fleet of smaller airships
that had been sold by Airship Industries. One thing you could always
count on seeing was a bucket partially full of bullets that had
been removed from the envelope. It didn’t bother me too much
that one would hit the fuel bag because of designed safety precautions
but each one reminded me of the idiot who fired it and the possibility
of hitting the pilot or others aboard. Soon after that we funded
a German company to look at a version of a lightweight diesel engine
they had demonstrated at Oshkosh. It was seen by a Wx systems engineer,
Hank Hiscox, who flew in for their annual air show and asked them
to call us about it.
Then in late November. I got a call from our rep in Mexico. The
Attorney General of Mexico wanted to talk to me personally. She
told me that her husband was at a missile range and that she and
I would meet with him. She said he spoke English. I met him on
December 3rd after we walked through a gauntlet of heavily armed
men in the hallway outside his office. We spent the first 20 minutes
talking about me, my family and my hobbies. When I told him that
I had been a collector of airship memorabilia for many years I
found that he was a fan of airships. Then he opened a folder and
asked me to talk about my experience with the sensors I mentioned
in my resume and their use for drug interdiction. Our rep had submitted
my resume and a data package to him prior to our visit. The data
package included a copy of our sentinel airship specification,
airship pictures, and pictures of the sensors we had provided in
and around Mexico, as well as those available as payloads. We had
included a map showing the radar coverage presently in place with
Wx radars and how it would be augmented with a fleet of six airships.
Finally, it included an airship co-production plan that Jim Luck
had put together while pursuing an opportunity in Mississippi.
I started with the TPS-70 which they had deployed to monitor their
Guatemalan border and then the TPS-63s aboard the LASS aerostats
along our common border. I added coverage which would be provided
by the ARSR-4, particularly from its look down beam. Then he wanted
to talk about the airship we were proposing and its payload. I
told him that our primary surveillance sensor was the Lass TPS-63
and that our secondary radar would be a solid state IFF feeding
through its antenna. Radar data would be displayed at two consoles
identical to those used in their TPS-70 tactical air defense air
ops shelter. These were the programmable AN/UYQ-27 displays. Next
I described an E/O pallet that included TV and low-light level
TV cameras, an IR subsystem and a third console housing a TV type
display. Then I described a communications pallet which included
air-to-air and air to-ground voice and data links. Finally, I described
an ESM pallet which would be provided by our Brit facility using
mostly Israeli equipment. He asked me for an estimated cost and
I gave him a range between 12 and 15 million each depending on
selected payloads. Then he asked me about the costs of co-producing
the airship and I told him that our estimate for the Mississippi
plan was 10 million but we felt that based on discussions with
Ron Rattel, one of our GM’s involved with Mexican co-production,
it would be lower. He thanked me for the thorough job we had done
in providing the information he needed. He said the US had offered
Mexico a fleet of used helicopters for use in drug interdiction
along with Army support and training until they could take over
and his question was always who is going to direct them to the
place to interdict. We don’t have an AWACS. He added that
either the US or Mexico would tire of that arrangement and end
it. The meeting took nearly an hour. He thanked me for coming and
said he would contact our rep within the next day or so. We left
and after lunch I flew back home. As I was writing my report on
my way back home I thought that I had just met with one of the
sharpest individuals I had ever met. I had dealt with many high
level military officers and civilians but rarely one-on-one. Nearly
everyone had a staff. But this general was well prepared. He didn’t
want a sales pitch - he wanted facts which he could use to sell
the program to his boss who was President Salinas of Mexico.
Two days later on December 5th our rep called me and said he would
be ready to see me on the afternoon of the 9th. We had a fifteen
minute meeting at which he told me what had been selected as the
mission payloads and asked me for a quote. I told him he would
have it within the hour. I already knew the answer but I told our
rep that I would call her after I called Baltimore. I called Bill
Adams who was unavailable, so I called Milt and asked if he wanted
me to commit him to an 84 million dollar program. He agreed and
that was the price she gave him. He told her that he should be
ready to sign off after the holidays around mid-January. Later
that evening she took me to dinner. She had kept her husband informed
and he in fact helped make some of the final payload selections.
When I got back I added some vacation days to our plant shutdown.
I left on December 11th and returned on January 4th. Two days later
at breakfast I was flipping through the paper and skimming the
headlines to see if there was anything I wanted to read. I got
to page 23 and stopped. I read the caption under two side-by-side
pictures which said President Salinas, left, who sees Clinton in
Texas Friday, has replaced attorney general Ignacio Morales Lechuga,
right. The headline read: “Mexico Signals Clinton before
Meeting” and its sub: Salinas’s Cabinet Shifts Anticipate
US Debate on Free Trade Pact. So I did read that article and I
have a copy here in my briefcase. Among other things the article
said that his replacement obviously was intended for the international
audience, to send a message that Mexico is trying to take a stronger
stance on human rights and drugs. I got to work around 7:15 and
before 8 I got a call from our reps in Mexico. They were both on
the line, she on the verge of tears. She told me how badly she
felt, then said she would talk to me again soon. He told me that
the AG was going to be appointed Mexican ambassador to Spain. He
knew that the new AG was a former head of the government’s
human rights commission and never involved in drug prosecutions.
He also felt that Mexico was going to accept the offer of helicopters.
I watched for signs of success in their acceptance of the helicopters
but the reverse happened. Within three years Mexico told the US
to take them back. So the only casualty of those international
political moves was us. It normally takes programs longer to go
through their procurement cycle. But this pursuit turned into just
another terrible way to lose and one of the biggest disappointments
of my career in just 31 days.
So the whole Mexico airship program was abolished.
Engineer of CCCI&M Divisions, Taiwan, Symposium, Raytheon
Then in February of ’93 Milt was named corporate VP, CCCI&M
Divisions. I continued my airship assignment and shortly our airship
was certified and we booked the UK MOD job which Gordon Adams had
followed for a long time. In recognition of the efforts of Gordon’s
team I gave him a solid gold replica of the airship pin our marketing
people gave away at shows. I told the group that he was the custodian
of it and could rotate it around or pass it on to the winner of
the next airship contract. I had taken a Krugerrand and a pin to
a jeweler who sometimes made gifts for my wife and had him melt
the K and cast the pin in gold. In June, Rudy D who had managed
our airship through certification took over as president and I
transferred my people to him and went back to my office in the
West building and was named Chief Engineer of Milt’s C Cubed
When I came back I continued to manage a couple of special programs.
Earlier I had been brought close to some of Bill Montgomery’s
space programs but that was put on hold when Bill died. Now, Bob
Iorizzo picked up that task which was completed in late ’93.
My traveling was mainly to establish a relationship with a company
in Taiwan. We had provided a lot of hardware to Taiwan and I had
personally briefed nearly every agency in Taiwan at one time or
another. We had sold our Hawk DSPs to their Army, our W-160 radars
to their Navy and our TPS-43s to their Air Force. Also their Air
Force finally got US approval to buy 150 F-16s. But when we started
developing our plans for the engineering and support center the
product that was going to trigger the startup was Milt’s
EW Division’s ALQ-131 pod. This was the most recent bid from
one of Milt’s divisions and it was currently under evaluation
by the Taiwan Air Force. We had a lot of electronic equipment in
Taiwan, and so did the company we were working with, MITAC. They
were one company in a group which included a shipping company,
a company that built pleasure boats, a food business and a recording
company among others. I interfaced with the GM of MITAC and Milt
interfaced with the chairman of the conglomerate. They had provided
thousands of computers worldwide and we were planning a commercial
support capability in addition to the support of their military
sales. They had bid a large lot of computers to Canadian Westinghouse
and were waiting for an announcement. They asked me to look into
it for them and I told them that I would try to find out when they
could expect a decision. When I contacted the GM I told him that
we were trying to build a relationship with MITAC and he said they
just selected them as the winner. He asked me if I wanted to tell
them and I said no. Nevertheless, they tried to credit me with
helping them until I finally convinced them that they did it themselves.
I was surprised to learn that they were outsourcing some of their
work to mainland China to keep themselves competitive.
Soon after we started working together, MITAC supported the two
systems engineers they sent to participate in the test of some
of the hardware we were building for Taiwan. We located them
in an office directly behind the guards at our entrance. They
lived in an apartment nearby and soon fit into our work routines.
Along with our MITAC alliance, I had been working with Sanyo
and through them a Korean device manufacturer. Together, we investigated
the application of our solid-state module technology to Sanyo’s
product line then to other products. We started with a microwave
oven and eventually looked at higher power applications such
as those used in making plywood. We looked at requirements for
plastic reclamation and tire decomposition and other products
and processes which used RF energy. We would not be competitive
with any product which used a magnetron until a high power monolithic
device was available and that is what I was pursuing with Gene
Strull and our research center.
During that time, Joe Yang who had replaced Dr. Pan as chief scientist
asked me to conduct an R&D symposium in Taiwan. It was to be
an unclassified version of the annual R&D symposium Wx conducted,
mainly for its high level DOD customers. John Gitt and I had been
critiquing the presentations for the past few years. I got Garth
Mackenzie’s help and lined up the speakers. Joe, who also
managed international defense marketing, issued the invitations.
We used artwork and posters developed for the Baltimore R&D
symposium. Milt and Joe attended and were pleased with the results.
Over the years I learned that it was difficult to measure the results
of our participation at air shows or the value of presentations
such as at our symposium, various seminars or conventions. But
I don’t know if anyone ever kept book on it. On one of my
trips I stopped by our office on my way to the airport and one
of the managers asked me if I was aware of what was going on with
the ALQ-131 bid. I said no, I seldom get involved with bids for
existing hardware. He said he was getting strong vibrations from
people he knew that the job was in serious trouble and that Wx
was not going to win. I said are you kidding me, we’ve built
over a thousand of those pods.
I talked to our man on the scene and I said, are you hearing anything
about how we're going to be wiped out on this bid? He said yes,
but I'm not paying any attention to it or words to that effect.
That, yes, he knew our price was higher than our competition who
was Raytheon. When I got back I said to Milt, here's what I'm hearing.
He was alarmed and he got in touch with the billionaire conglomerate
chairman and got him to delay the award. But it was too late. Raytheon
came in and ate our lunch on a product that we had been producing
for years. It not only disturbed me because it seriously impacted
our plans, but because it was Raytheon again. It was not the first
time it happened and is probably still going on. Raytheon is a
I know this interview was about my career and I’ve mentioned
a lot of names, but the point is that without them and many more,
I wouldn’t have had a career. In early ’94 I started
planning for an early retirement. My wife’s health was deteriorating
and we wanted to get started on our long term objective to purchase
our retirement homes. In our travels around the world we had selected
locations and gathered information. Our preliminary list included
homes in either Tiburon or Del Mar, California; Salzburg, Sardinia
or Corsica; and Chile or Argentina. We planned to keep our home
in Bowie, sell the three town houses we owned and implement our
plan. It was difficult for me to leave what I had long felt was
the best job in Wx. I was at the peak of my earnings and didn’t
want to leave but in early ’94, we decided it was time. On
my last trip I visited Taiwan, and Seoul. I was accompanied by
Garth who was going to take over with both MITAC and Sanyo. In
Taiwan, MITAC honored me with a farewell banquet and in Seoul,
Sanyo had a similar send off in one of the small buildings of an
ancient park. My Wx retirement party was held right here in the
I think I can best summarize my career by looking at a map of
the USA and pinpointing the location of all of the radars I’ve
had a hand in fielding. I would see the ARSR-4 at 40 sites encircling
the country and the ASR-9 at 137 of its airports. Inside the USA,
I would see the ARSR-3 at 23 sites. The Mode-S would be seen supporting
all three radar types at all of those sites. Then across the Southwestern
border I would see our TPS-63 radars in tethered aerostats. Across
the country I would see a mix of over 100 USAF AN/TPS-75s and USMC
AN/TPS-63 tactical radars. I could then take a God’s eye
view of the Earth and see our radars on nearly every continent,
on many ships and on several fleets of AWACS. Finally, I would
see the radars we helped develop for the SEASAT and space shuttle.
Collectively, our radars have provided surveillance of most of
the earth. The shuttle radar has provided a radar view of it all.
Our Deep Submergence System gave us a view of inner space and mapped
the bottom of some oceans. In my career I designed or managed the
design of hardware that went on every platform except for a fighter
aircraft, but no one in the world was better at that than our Avionics
Division. Also during my career I made 59 international trips,
visited 41 countries, and flew around the world seven times in
pursuit of international business for Westinghouse. But in the
final analysis I knew that all of those things were as fleeting
as fame. I remember reading specs that included a 30 year life
requirement that I’ve outlived.
When I worked for the power company I engineered hundreds of jobs
for them and when I left the superintendent told me that I had
left a great legacy. So when I retired I thought about what he
said while looking at my body of work for Wx. I disagreed that
all those things made up my legacy. None of them qualified. My
legacy is my family. Although a lot of people patted me on the
back and said that’s a great design or that’s a great
display or what a great radar, many more people have complimented
me on my family using descriptives like great, marvelous and awesome.
Before my wife died, just two months ago, the word that best described
her was remarkable. Along the way, my identity changed. My daughters
and both sons-in-law used to be introduced as this is Lou Meren’s
daughter or this is Lou Meren’s son-in-law. Now I’m
introduced as this is Kerry Meren or Eileen Bittner’s dad
and this is Paul Freedman or Kevin Bittner’s father-in-law.
Three are Northrop Grumman management employees and they along
with our daughter Kerry - who works in the Pediatric Oncology Center
at Hopkins - and our grandchildren are subjects of enormous pride
to me and to our extended family. And since this will be an historical
document I’d like to record the names of my grandchildren,
Gillian and Emmett Freedman, and Patrick and Shannon Bittner.
Westinghouse granted me a tremendous engineering career opportunity.
I shared that great career with outstanding teams of people. I
always had a lot to do and worked on a lot of different things.
I was always well paid and never asked for an assignment, transfer
or raise. Whenever I looked at the people supporting me I liked
what I saw. The same can be said about looking up until very late
in my career. As early as 1973 both Jackson and Tom Tomlinson told
me that Dick Linder would manage the Defense Center someday. In
1986, he replaced Harry Smith upon his retirement. I know that
some people kept a list of succession. I wrote mine down when Bob
Kirby was CEO. I had picked Jim Beggs to succeed him. That didn’t
happen. A few years later I picked Tom Murrin and that didn’t
happen either, but I picked him again and added Linder to follow
him and Milt to follow Linder. None of that happened but I think
my picks would have been better than who we got. And as a wise
man would say, who can dispute what you’re thinking. When
Milt read my going away letter from Dick Linder and got to the
part that said I probably worked on more programs than anyone else
he ad-libbed, ‘couldn’t hold down a job,’ huh.
Well you certainly [Chuckling] covered an awful lot of programs
in the last two hours.
Yes, and it was really an exciting opportunity.
IEEE, Papers, Patents
One other thing, since you know I'm from the IEEE. Were you ever
a member or otherwise involved with IEEE?
Yes, I was when I was in college. It was the IRE and later the
IEEE. Then Bill Jones and I wrote a paper about surveillance radars.
Actually, we were very busy at the time so I provided a lot of
information and photographs but Bill did most of the work.
I retained my membership for about four years. Each month when
the Proceedings were published I would pick out an article that
I would read and understand. I did that for about three years and
had those issues bound. Finally I got an issue that looked like
it would take me an inordinate amount of time to understand so
I set it aside and let my membership expire. In my home library
I have three bound volumes of the IEEE Proceedings. Up through
probably 1960, maybe '61. I rarely got a chance to read any more
articles. I ghosted an article for an FAA program manager to present
and presented it myself when his boss balked. I also wrote a paper
with Bernie Cataldo that Merrill Skolnik asked for. It covered
our scan converter designs.
The first paper that I wrote for Westinghouse got kicked back
by our radar manager at the time, Colin McCadie. He said this is
a great paper but it's too detailed. If you gave this to a customer
or to our competition, they could design this display. The subject
display was the one I mentioned earlier as the toughest job that
I ever had, the display for the Splash Detection Radar. When I
started stripping it down I decided there was not enough left to
publish. Within my first five years at Westinghouse, I wrote nine
patent disclosures. Five of them were rewarded with a check. Three
applied for patents. All three were classified secret. I don't
know what ever happened to them. But if they were patented I would
have known about it. Over the course of the rest of my career,
I added 18 more disclosures but I never got a patent for anything.
I still have a portfolio of ideas that I have reviewed with my
family. If I don’t get around to them, maybe they will. Three
of them have come to fruition, unfortunately byothers.
We used to have patent drives and I sometimes suggested patent
subjects to be disclosed and some things were patented like the
Crowbar in oil that I mentioned when I talked about the ALCOR
I think we've covered everything and I think our time is up.
So I would like to thank you for coming in to do this.
And it’s been a pleasure to listen to you talk about your