- SYSTEMS & EQUIPMENT -
AN/BRN-3 Satellite Navigation Receiver
AN/SQN-6 (XN-1) Stabilized Narrow-Beam Sonar Sounding Set 
AN/SSQ-27 (XN-1) Frequency and Time Standard
AN/UYK-1 General Purpose Digital Computer 
AN/WPN-3 Loran-C Receiver 
ASPS-III Acoustic Ships Positioning System 
      (AT-092AR, AT-095 Deep Ocean Transponders)
Bendix G-15D Computer 
CP677 Computer 
Equipment Notebooks 
Friden Flexowriter 
IBM Selectric 
Mk-19 Gyroscope
Navigation Information Center NIC
SASS Sonar Array Sounding System 
Sperry NAVDAC MARK I Computer 
SPERRY MK3 MOD3 SINS 
Transit Satellite Navigation System 

 

AN/BRN-3 Satellite Navigation Receiver
  The shipboard equipment for the US Navy's Transit Satellite Navigation System.
  The AN/BRN-3 aboard USNS Michelson, 1970-1971.

Bunker Ramo CP-677A/BRN-3 computer  (1st cabinet on the left)
CV-1296/BRN-3 Data Processor  (2nd cabinet)
Westinghouse R-1132/BRN-3 Receiver  (3rd and 4th cabinets)

(Photo courtesy of Earl Adams)
BRN-3-1200.jpg (310867 bytes)
  Development of Receivers to Characterize Transit Time and Frequency Signals, L.J. Rueger
Johns Hopkins Technical Digest, 1998, 19:1, pp53-59
 
 
 
From the Sea to the Stars, Chap 2: Satellites for Strategic Defense

 

AN/SQN-6 (XN-1) Stabilized Narrow-Beam Sonar Sounding Set
   Doc: NAVSHIPS 93143  

 

AN/SSQ-27 (XN-1) Frequency and Time Standard
   Manufacturer:  Borg  

 

AN/UYK-1 General Purpose Digital Computer
  The Navy designation for the Bunker Ramo CP-677 computer
  http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/BRL64-t.html#TRW-230-130-AN/UYK-1  

 

AN/WPN-3 Loran-C Receiver
  Manufacturer: Sperry  
  R-1014/ WPN-3 Receiver  
  Hyperbolic Radionavigation Systems:
    http://jproc.ca/hyperbolic/index.html
 

 

ASPS-III Acoustic Ships Positioning System
(AT-092AR, AT-095 Deep Ocean Transponders)
  Installed only aboard USNS Bowditch.

 

Bendix G-15D Computer
 

Two Bendix G-15D general purpose digital computers were installed in Hydroplot.  These computers were presumably used in the onboard production of bathymetric contour charts. 

These computers are not known to have been electronically interfaced with SASS or any other shipboard system.

   The Bendix G-15 at The Australian Computer Museum:

  The front panel with the paper tape reader at top, and open right access panel. Bendix_G-15D-1-800.jpg (135757 bytes) Bendix_G-15D-2-800.jpg (152435 bytes) Bendix_G-15D-3-800.jpg (140332 bytes)
  The right assembly bays, and one of the tube packages. Bendix_G-15D-4-800.jpg (141271 bytes) Bendix_G-15D-5-800.jpg (136805 bytes) Bendix_G-15D-6-600.jpg (83627 bytes)
  http://members.iinet.net.au/~dgreen/g15intro.html
http://www.piercefuller.com/collect/bendix/index.html
http://members.iinet.net.au/~dgreen/docs.html
 

 

CP677 Computer
  Manufacturer: Bunker-Ramo
  The Bunker-Ramo CP677 was the data processor for SASS, the AN/BRN-3 and, ca. 1969-1970, replaced the Sperry NAVDAC Mk I as NAVDAC.
      Photo courtesy of Roger Gilfert. CP677.jpg (390579 bytes)
  A product brochure, dated May 1964, for a Bunker-Ramo 133 Computer System.  The 133 looks almost identical to the CP677, and has (from the best of my memory) very similar specifications.

The CP677 was installed on the TAGS during the 1963 yard period as part of SASS and the AN/BRN-3, so the time period is about right.
                                                             BR-133_Brochure_May64_P1-1200.jpg (474121 bytes) BR-133_Brochure_May64_P2-1200.jpg (408335 bytes) BR-133_Brochure_May64-P2-panel.jpg (235701 bytes)

 

Equipment Notebooks
  My wheelbook containing equipment operating instructions from USNS Bowditch, 1967-1968.

(Courtesy of Earl Adams.)
 
  My wheelbook, by this time expanded to a small loose leaf notebook, containing equipment operating instructions from USNS Michelson, 1970-1971.

(Courtesy of Earl Adams.)
 

 

Friden Flexowriter
  Used aboard the TAGS as computer terminals for the Sperry NAVDAC MK I  
  Patent 2700446, January 1955
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friden_Flexowriter
http://www.blinkenlights.com/classiccmp/friden/
 

 

IBM Selectric
  The IBM Selectric typewriter mechanisms were widely used as computer terminals, ca. 1968-1980.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Selectric_typewriter#The_Selectric_as_computer_terminal
 
  Prior to the adoption of the Selectric, the TAGS used Friden Flexowriters as computer terminals.   

 

Mk-19 Gyroscope
  Manufacturer: Sperry  

 

Navigation Information Center NIC
  The equipment floor plan of NIC, for the period ca. 1963-1971.

Redrawn from the diagram in "USNS Dutton Information Booklet" (contributed by Henry Alubowicz).

There are a number of errors and omissions in the original drawing which have not yet been corrected here.

Please contact the Admin if you can make corrections to this diagram, or can identify equipment and configuration changes made between ships and over time.

 

SASS Sonar Array Sounding System
  The NOAA reference below says "Sonar Array Sounding System".  Art Dayson's General Instrument SASS course graduation certificate says "Sonarray Sounding System".  Any other translations out there?
http://www.history.noaa.gov/stories_tales/poletobeam2.html
http://brigus.physics.mun.ca/zedel/P6317/papers/seabeam_theory.pdf
  The SASS control console aboard USNS Michelson, 1972-1973


(Courtesy of Steve Campbell)
Michelson_Crew_at_Sea1.jpg (384212 bytes)
  The SASS CP-677 computer, aboard USNS Bowditch, 1972-1973.  The cabinet on the left is the extended memory cabinet.


(Courtesy of Bob Lord)
SASS_CP677_Modified_Doors-1200.jpg (269667 bytes)
 
-  THE INVENTION OF SASS  - 

Eugene Weisberger was General Manager at General Instrument in the early 1960's when SASS was invented.  His recollections of those times have been published in a personal biography: "LAZARUS: FROM SEVEN TO SEVENTY-SEVEN" by Eugene Weisberger.  Gene has been kind enough to lend his permission to the TAGS site to reprint those recollections here.

In a personal communication with the TAGS site Admin., Earl Adams, Gene writes:

"The engineering team headed up by Art Rossoff (recently passed away) had come up with an idea to develop a multibeam radar. The idea was to install it on a spy plane and fly it over Russia and map that country’s terrain to determine the location of missile sites.
 
We received a lot of interest from the Air Force and wrote a proposal for this multibeam radar mapping system.
 
Then, lo and behold, a US airplane flown by one Francis Gary Powers was shot down over Russia and there was a great deal of negative publicity.  The Air Force people came to me and told me that they decided to cancel the multibeam radar program because it had become too politically sensitive.
 
So there we were with this multibeam idea but with no place to use it. Then several engineers from our Boston facility, Howard Lustig and Harold Farr, together with Art Rossoff came up with the idea of using the multibeam concept with sonar instead of radar. Our Boston facility made hydrophones and projectors (receivers and transmitters) that were used by the US Navy in sonars. But of course they did not make the electronics to go with it. The Long island facility that I was running made the electronics.  So it was that the idea was transferred from radar to sonar.
 
A proposal was written by Howard Lustig and Art Rossoff for the development of such a system. It was called Sonar Array Sounding System, SASS for short.
 
We received the first contract for SASS about six months later.  The first ship to have SASS installed was the USS Compass Island.  The program was monitored by a Navy engineer named Steve Kochansky who worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in a building called the Material Laboratory.
 
Now for a real coincidence! When I first graduated from Brooklyn Poly in 1950 it was difficult to get a job in industry. So I took a Civil Service job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Guess who became one of my good friends? Steve Kochansky!
 
I left the civil service in 1951 to work at a company named Radio Receptor. Radio Receptor was bought by General Instrument where I later became General Manager, then President. General Instrument also bought the Harris Transducer company which made Projectors and Hydrophones for the US Navy.  The man who ran that business for me was Donald White.  
 
After the SASS systems that we made for the Navy we looked for ways to continue the business. We planned to make a smaller system for civilian use and for which we could also get an export license from the State Dept.  There was a French-sponsored program to try to find the North Atlantic Trench. The French Hydrographic office came to us to buy a system to study the ocean bottom. Don White and I spent a week negotiating a contract for the system.
 
Now we had to find a name for the system. I came home one night and discussed the dilemma with my family. What should we call the system? We sat around the table at dinner and one of my kids, Marc, came up with a name that just sounded perfect. That was how “Sea Beam” was born."

Excerpts from: LAZARUS: FROM SEVEN TO SEVENTY-SEVEN,  Eugene Weisberger
LAZARUS: FROM SEVEN TO SEVENTY-SEVEN
by Eugene Weisberger
Copyright ©2004  by Eugene Weisberger
iUniverse, Inc., New York, Lincoln, Shanghai
0-595-31560-7

Used by permission.
Gene-800.jpg (182829 bytes) Gene Weisberger as a white hat.
Gene is on the left.
Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois.  Summer, 1945., pp xiii
From:  LAZARUS: FROM SEVEN TO SEVENTY-SEVEN,  Eugene Weisberger, pp xiii

 

Chapter 1, Section 5, pp 44-47

 

THE BIRTH OF SEA BEAM

 

Each evening I would sit around the dinner table with my wife and four alert children, and often talk about the happenings at General Instrument. I was so lucky to have an exciting job to share with an interested family. Some evenings I would come home and talk about the functions of a radar warning receiver; other nights, the discussion revolved around an upcoming trip to a Defense Electronics Show in Paris.

 

At times I would bring home information about the undersea mapping systems. I found this project an exciting one that started with the germ of an idea from two innovative engineers, Howard Lustig and Arthur Rossoff, in our Hicksville, New York facility. Their original concept was to develop a multi-beam radar system and install it into a U. S. Air Force airplane. The aircraft would then be flown over the Soviet Union to map the contour of their territory. This happened at the beginning of the cold war, almost one-half century ago. However, the program did not continue due to circumstances that discouraged the Air Force from proceeding.

At that point we had a brilliant idea without a home. Fortunately, our ingenious engineers from the transducer facility, Don White and Harold Farr, came up with a clever variation to this multi-beam concept. Their idea was to have it used with a multi-beam sonar system. It would be installed on a ship to map the ocean bottom, instead of an airplane.

General Instrument fortuitously purchased a small division in Boston started by a sonar engineer named Wilber Harris. This division was the basis for the multi-beam system. The unit, Harris Transducer Division made projectors and receivers for the sonar industry. On a memorable day in early 1960, Howard and Arthur paid a visit to the key engineers at Harris, Harold Farr and Donald White. They discussed the possibility of using the latest in computer technology to invent a system that would be able to make real-time maps of the ocean bottom.

They approached the U. S. Navy with this extremely creative concept. After six months of proposal writing and making presentations to key Navy officials, the idea was finally funded. The Navy gave the project to a young, aggressive engineer at the Naval Material Laboratory, Steve Kochansky. Coincidentally, I had worked with Steve ten years before in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Although I had nothing to do with the design, my relationship with Steve was helpful when the program would get bogged down.

Two years later an initial system was installed on a research ship called the Compass Island. The concept worked even though the computer was unreliable. This system would automatically generate maps as the ship steamed along, instead of requiring dozens of cartographers to draw contour lines of the ocean's bottom. After the initial program, a new contract was funded for four additional systems called the Sonar Array Sounding System.

As these four systems were delivered during the late 1960's the ocean began to get mapped in earnest. It was now possible to get accurate detailed data of the ocean bottom. Hundreds of maps were created that made layers beneath the ocean visible to scientists and military people alike. Initially, the systems were used for highly classified projects. During the Cold War they were used to track the path and location of Russian submarines throughout the world. (1) The U.S. Navy forbade us to discuss the concept with other nations because of the very sensitive nature of the data.

There was continued disagreement between the scientists who wanted to use the data for oceanographic purposes, and the military people who wanted the data to remain classified because of its military significance. Ultimately, General Instrument personnel convinced the Navy that if we did not sell it to other countries, they would eventually develop it themselves. It was clear that multi-beam technology was here to stay with the advent of more powerful computers.

For years there were problems with the hand drawn charts of the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. There were so many irregularities that the work of the cartographers was stymied. The year 1974 was designated as FAMOUS, which was symbolic for the French-American Mid-Ocean Undersea Study. It was a year dedicated to increased understanding of our ocean surfaces. The French were given the challenge of getting the mapped data about the entire middle Atlantic ridge. The French had the macro responsibility while the Americans had the micro responsibility.

The only way to see the overall bottom of the ocean surface was to use a multibeam sonar system and General Instrument was the only company to have such a system. We were called to Paris to negotiate a contract for our system. The French were egocentric about their technical abilities and were also very sensitive about the fact that they needed to buy such technology from the United States. (General Instrument had the patent for the technology.)

 The program manager, Don White, and I spent a long week in Paris trying to negotiate an agreement with their Hydrographic Office. To make matters more difficult, the office at Idlewild Airport (renamed John F. Kennedy Airport) passed a ruling that limited the number of planes allowed to land at that airport. The ruling annoyed the French even more because the U.S was squeezing Air France out of the airline market. So they were not happy about purchasing a Sea Beam from an American company. In fact, the French negotiator told me off the record that if the technology could have been bought "anywhere in the world other than the United States, they would have done so."

Although they hated us that week, we just hung in there. When I reported back to the General Manager, he said something I have quoted many times since I became a General Manager.

He said, "the art of negotiation is the art of keeping the seat of one's pants upon the seat of one's chair."

The negotiations were made more difficult by the fact that they insisted on keeping it in French, so we needed the contract translated line by line. We later discovered over dinner and a few bottles of wine, that the French negotiators were instructed to give us a hard time. We all laughed about this, and a while later we had our contract.

For years, two divisions worked on this multi-beam sonar system. The Hicksville division worked on the electronics, while the Boston division worked on the sonar portion of the system. Because this was a very sophisticated and highly classified project, I always had to be careful not to release any classified material. Typically, I would tell others the name of the system (Sonar Array Sounding System) and that it was used to find things in the bottom of the ocean, like treasures. I never actually said anything about its real purpose.

Years later the security classification was downgraded and our company received permission to sell comparable systems to friendly foreign governments. The U.S. government insisted that the system sold overseas should be significantly downgraded in performance.

In order to separate the high performance system used by the United States Navy (referred by its complicated name, Sonar Array Sounding System or SASS) from the commercial version, we decided to create a new name. General Instrument was looking for a catchy name that distinguished itself from the Navy's, but that was also descriptive of its function. At that time, both the electronic and sonar portions of the commercial version were being built in Boston. I visited the Boston facility once a month to check on its progress.

One night after a monthly trip to Boston, I told my family that the project managers of the commercial version of SASS were looking for a new name. This task fascinated my kids and they started to ask questions about the systems' function. I explained how the system worked under the ocean to send many sonar beams to the ocean floor. After several minutes on the subject, the kids started to throw out suggestions. Among the many suggestions one potential name was Ocean Mapper and the other was Sea Mapping System. Suddenly, our youngest son who was nine years old, but very good with words, came out with the name SEA BEAM. Immediately the others repeated "Sea Beam, yes that sounds good. Sea Beam! Yes!" They said, "That sounds good." And so Sea Beam was born.

We delivered the Sea Beam to the French in time to meet the "1974 Year of Exploration" and several of our engineers were there to use the system in the mid-Atlantic. They returned with stories about what they found. In the middle of the Atlantic we saw a huge gully that was later called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It was this data that showed that the plates under the ocean were actually separating causing Europe and North America to move apart.

 

Over the next forty years hundreds of scientific discoveries were made possible with the use of Sea Beam. Sea Beam systems were delivered to Australia, Japan, Korea and others. Eventually, our patent ran out and the French and Germans started to manufacture Sea Beam type systems. But the name Sea Beam began at a kitchen table when a young boy thought of a catchy name for this very important system.
  NOTES:
(1) - Here Gene unaccountably confuses the use of SASS with that of SOSUS.  [Admin.]
Additional References:
     http://www.history.noaa.gov/stories_tales/poletobeam2.html
   http://www.mbari.org/data/mbsystem/sonarfunction/SeaBeamMultibeamTheoryOperation.pdf

 

Sperry NAVDAC MARK I Computer
    The Sperry NAVDAC Mk I is the two stacks of  horizontal cabinets to the left and right of the Tech Rep in the yellow shirt.

The preferred maintenance tool seems to be a spray bottle of 409.

(Photo courtesy of Earl Adams)
nic07.jpg (155384 bytes) 
  NAVDAC was an acronym for Navigation Data Assimilation Computer, which describes concisely what the equipment was, and what it did.  It's unusual for an acronym to end up being so precisely correct!  It was a general purpose computer which ran a program that assimilated navigation data.

The original NAVDAC on the T-AGS was a Sperry computer built to a UNIVAC design.  See the excellent commentaries by John Prough and Jack Keenan.  Photos of the computer, which unfortunately do not show the face of the control console, are here and here. The computer consisted of the two three-cabinet stacks seen in the photo, one behind the Sid Mitman on the left, and the other behind LCDR Hammer on the right.

By ca. 1969-1970 the Sperry NAVDAC had been replaced on the T-AGS by the Bunker-Ramo CP677.

  NAVDAC MARK I Technical Manual
(Courtesy of Jack Keenan.)
    VOLUME I OF II
COVER.jpg (133418 bytes)
This tech manual is the "final" version, published in 1962. There was a "preliminary" version which was all we had back in '62 when I was on Dutton. If memory serves me, the final version was just a reprint of the prelim! There were two major modifications to the Mark I in later years. These were the addition of a stepping magnetic tape recorder and the modification to the input and output units to provide communication with the Sperry SINDAC computer (MK3 SINS) and possibly other navcenter systems. To my knowledge, there was never a formal "change" to the tech manual to incorporate either of these mods.


The only information I have for the first mod is an informal "installation manual" for the tape recorder, which includes instructions for the modification to the Mark I. I have this because I designed the mod and wrote the manual.

As for the second mod, I do not have anything more than some pictures of, and technical information for, the "Sugar-cube" components used for the new Input/Output Unit logic circuits. I was not involved in the design, development and installation of this mod.
    VOLUME II OF II0-b.jpg (283965 bytes)

 

SPERRY MK3 MOD3 (MOD6) SINS
  The Sperry Mk 3 Mod 3 SINS.
(Later upgraded to Mod 6)
SINDAC, The SINS Data Assimilation Computer, is the 3 cabinets on the left.
The SINS Binnacle is hanging from the overhead on the right.

(Photo coutesy of Roger Gilfert)
MK-3_SINS.jpg (343415 bytes)
  The Sperry Mk 3 Mod 3 SINS binnacle, with its skirt raised. 
The binnacle houses the stable table, which isolates the gyroscopes and accelerometers from the local vertical (i.e., gravity).

(Photo courtesy of Earl Adams)
nic11.jpg (135067 bytes) 
  http://www.ion.org/museum/item_view.cfm?cid=5&scid=4&iid=4
http://comcents.com/tendertale.com/tti/tti-55.html
Inertial Navigation – Forty Years of Evolution
Principle of Operation of an Accelerometer
TenderJobs: SINS Gang - Ship's Inertial Navigation System
 

 

Transit Satellite Navigation System
  The first operational satellite navigation system, developed by the US Navy for the Fleet Ballistic Missle program..
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_%28satellite%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_navigation_satellite_system
http://sd-www.jhuapl.edu/Transit/
http://www.jhuapl.edu/techdigest/td1901/rueger.pdf
http://www.history.navy.mil/books/space/Chapter2.htm
http://www.astronautix.com/project/transit.htm
  The first sentence in this account, "Spin-stabilized..." is in error.  The satellites were gravity-gradient stabilized.
 

 

Velocimeter

Magnetometer

Gravitometer