"Shore Electronics" - Bureau of Ships Journal June 1965

Figure 1. Special-use new antenna.
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Figure 2. New type of high frequency antenna.
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Figure 3. Another type of high frequency antenna.
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Figure 4. Antenna system for communications moon relay.
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Figure 5. Antenna system of VLF transmitter. Cutler, Maine.
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Figure 6. Magnitude of the antenna tuning equipment at Jim Creek, Washington.
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Figure 7. Air traffic control tower.
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Figure 8. Operational traffic control center.
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Figure 9. Radar picture of hurricane with Navy hurricane-hunter plane in center of eye.
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Figure 10. TACDEW Annex Training capability
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"Shore Electronics" - Bureau of Ships Journal June 1965

From an austere beginning in the 1940's using simple manual CW and single channel voice communications to the complex, multi-million dollar, multi-channel communications system of today— that is the story of the development of Shore Electronics as the Bureau celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Shore electronics has grown from infancy just prior to World War II to its present day status as a major support element of the world's greatest Navy. The continuing increased operational need for shore electronics systems is reflected in the tremendous growth of the shore electronics plant during the past 25 years. Shore electronics systems are now used at approximately 1000 activities including Communication, Air, Ocean Surveillance, Operational Control, Security and Training Stations. The electronics plant value of these facilities is well over two billion dollars. Current world-wide shore electronics projects now in process are valued at approximately 320 million dollars.

With the introduction of electronics into the Fleet, certain organizational changes were required and implemented by the Bureau. In the early 1940's ship and shore electronics was assigned -to a small group of engineers—the then new breed called "electrons." During the latter part of the 1940's a small group was organized to oversee the shore electronics installation and maintenance program. In 1950 the performance budget concept of operation was instituted. Each sponsor was assigned the responsibility to budget for and control his project funds. The performance budget had the effect of diluting the technical influence of the Bureau of Ships in the discharge of its assigned shore electronics responsibilities and thus limited further internal organizational improvements. In spite of this handicap the small core of Bureau shore "electrons," supported by a small field shore electronics effort, continued to press forward to improve the Bureau's shore electronics posture. Notwithstanding the limited manpower assigned because of imposed headquarters ceiling and fragmentation of shore electronics engineering responsibilities, many major installations and achievements were still effected by BuShips. Some of these accomplishments are described below.

Communications. During the 1940 time period the bulk of Naval wire and radio communications was carried out at speeds of less than 40 words per minute with manual radio telegraph operation. In 1943 BuShips instituted systems design of single-side band point-to-point circuits utilizing the teletypewriter for circuit termination. This opened the way for multi-channel systems in general Naval use today, providing transmission speeds equivalent to several hundred words a minute with greatly improved reliability.

Under the sponsorship of the Director of Naval Communications, the Naval Communications Service has undertaken an extensive program for modernization and improvement of the Naval shore based Fleet communications. The total cost for research and development, equipment procurement, and military construction is over 250 million dollars.

A special-use new antenna was a key development in this period as shown in figure 1. The two-story building approximately 100 feet square is surrounded by a Wullenweber antenna array consisting of two concentric circularly disposed antenna arrays, measuring 782 feet and 863 feet respectively, which cover the high frequency spectrum.

Figures 2 and 3 illustrate two of the newer types of high frequency antennas which are currently in use at many shore activities. Figure 4 illustrates one of the antenna systems in use in conjunction with the communications moon relay system, which is capable of automatically tracking the moon, thus maintaining communications by reflection with a distant point. T his was the first "satellite communications."
The field of Very Low Frequency has become a virtual design monopoly with the Bureau of Ships insofar as its use by the Department of Defense is concerned. Due to its ability to penetrate sea water, VLF is used for the purpose of control of submerged submarines. With the advent of the Polaris missile submarine, the provision of super power VLF shore facilities has become a high priority program. The Bureau has long been a leader in this technical specialty as evidenced by its early development and installation of the 500KW VLF installations at Annapolis, Canal Zone, Pearl Harbor, and in the old Cavite, Philippine installation, completed prior to World War II.

Since mid-1955 a general upgrading of new and existing VLF installations has been in progress. To date, close to 200 million dollars has been expended in the construction and outfitting of new and improved VLF facilities throughout the world, culminating with the new station in North West Cape, Australia. This station will have a power output in excess of 2 million watts and is being built at a cost of over 70 million dollars. The antenna system of the VLF transmitter at Cutler, Maine, is shown in figure 5. Figure 6 indicates the magnitude of the antenna tuning equipment at the Naval Communication Station, Jim Creek, Washington. To effect even further improvements in this program, the Bureau is investigating new and improved techniques on a continuing basis.

The most important military advancement in the state of the VLF art has been the development of highly stabilized frequency sources. In 25 years these have achieved the fantastic improvement in stability of 7 to 8 orders of magnitude through the engineering application of newly acquired knowledge in the field of nuclear physics. The major impact of the advancement in this area has been the development of a precise very long range navigation system—OMEGA—whereby a mere handful of widely scattered stations provides our Polaris submarines with the means of acquiring submerged navigational fixes equivalent to those obtainable on the surface or aloft by the long established LORAN system operating in the Low Frequency (LF) band.

Air Traffic Control. One of the more significant developments in the post World War II era was the initiation of the air traffic control program. In the period immediately after the war the visual tower was the primary means of controlling aircraft. Figure 7 shows a tower of this era. The Navy could not long continue to control aircraft by visual means. In 1947 the radar air traffic control pro- gram was instituted. The facility consisted of one or more high-power surveillance radars and a precision radar landing system, each feeding several radar indicators in a control room. Each radar operator's position in the center was equipped with a communications control system which remotely controlled station transmitters and receivers. Thus a control center operator had the capability of (1) "seeing" aircraft day or night under all weather conditions, (2) directing the movement of aircraft, and (3) talking the pilot down to a successful landing.

A modern Radar Air Traffic Control Center with required equipment and building is valued at approximately two and a half million dollars. Figure 8 shows a portion of an operational traffic control center. Figure 9 shows a radar picture of a hurricane on a control center radar indicator. In the "eye" can be seen a Navy hurricane-hunter plane.
Training. To cope with the complexity of our modern electronic tools, training becomes paramount. Approximately 500 schools and Reserve Training Centers are in operation today, satisfying the operational need for individual technical training as well as individual, team and Fleet operational training. The Fleet Sonar School, Key West, the CIC School, Glynco and the Fleet Training Centers, Norfolk and San Diego are but a few of our major electronics training facilities.

The Tactical Combat Direction and Electronic Warfare Project commonly known as the TACDEW Annex is currently being added to the existing Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center at Point Loma, San Diego. The TACDEW Annex will provide the necessary electronic tool to accomplish Fleet training in such areas as Task Force electronic countermeasures, carrier controlled approach, aircraft hand-over, and coordination of the air early warning and shipboard CIC team. The TACDEW Annex Training capability is shown in figure 10. The facility will not only provide training at the Fleet Training Center, but will be capable of transmitting simulated video pictures to NTDS ships for the purpose of training ships' CIC teams while underway.

Operational Control Centers. The operational necessity for improving the Fleet Commander's ability to make quick decisions based upon all available current information resulted in the establishment of Operations Control Centers (OpCON Centers) for shore based Fleet Commanders. With such a requirement placed upon the Bureau, the Navy entered the "age of the electronic computer* in earnest.

After World War II, graphic and tabulated information was maintained at the shore headquarters of the various Naval Fleet Commanders. The associated War Room facilities depended upon slow manual retrieval, consolidation and posting efforts. Electronics was called upon to add new life to our "nerve centers" of operation. Computers were used to automate the process of storage, retrieval, and updating. Appropriate communications were provided to keep all available information current and to provide command decisions to operational forces in a timely manner. Data display subsystems, manual and semi-automatic, were provided to present graphic and tabular information to the Naval Commanders.

The magnitude of this program currently underway in the Bureau represents an investment of approximately seventy million dollars. Future increased effort in this program is planned as evidenced by a Presidential message to Congress in 1961 in support of the military budget, quoted as follows: "... the invulnerable and continuous command posts and communication centers provided in these recommendations are only the beginning of a major, but absolutely vital effort to achieve a truly unified nationwide indestructible system to assure high-level command, communications and control and a properly authorized response under any conditions."

Many dramatic changes have taken place in shore electronics during the past year. Many firsts were recorded in the process. In 1964, the Chief of Naval Material (CNM) directed the continuation of the assignment of shore electronics responsibility to the Bureau of Ships. This was done in order to consolidate all shore electronics technical resources in the Bureau of Ships and, most importantly, to bring adequate manpower resources to bear on this important engineering area. In addition, 1964 was the year that ASN (I&L) resolved Recommendation 33b of the Review of Management of the Department of the Navy and assigned functional responsibilities to CNO and CNM in accordance with user-producer relationships as defined in General Order No. 5.

1964 also was the year in which preliminary agreement between BuDocks and BuShips was reached in the assignment of management responsibility for construction projects involving the installation of electronics equipment. The plan enunciated by CNM provides an unmistakably clear shore electronics charter by (1) strengthening the functional organization and capability for support within the NMSE and concentrating the technical effort in the Bureau of Ships, (2) taking full responsibility for providing adequate material support to the Chief of Naval Operations, and (3) clearly defining responsibilities and providing improved management procedures for shore electronics facilities projects.

Early in 1964 the Bureau of Ships transferred responsibility for the execution of the Shore Electronics program to a field activity, the Industrial Manager Naval District Washington, where again for the first time adequate resources were applied in support of the program. Rear Admiral J. E. Rice was designated the first Assistant Chief of the Bureau for Shore Electronics. As Assistant Chief, he is responsible to the Chief of the Bureau for the engineering, procurement, logistics support, installation, maintenance, improvement, and inspection of shore electronics systems and equipment under the material support responsibilities of the Bureau. Among the firsts recorded in the above assignment of responsibilities was the establishment of shore oriented programs of equipment design and logistic support.

Shore Electronics now has an Assistant Chief to guide its future efforts. It has adequate resources to execute the program through the Industrial Manager, Naval District Washington D. C. It has the wholehearted support of ASN (I&L) and the Chiefs of Naval Material and Bureau of Ships. With such a solid foundation upon which to grow, the expectations for the future are unlimited.

Where do we go from here? The history of Shore Electronics shows that no sooner is one job done than another and a larger one develops. Ahead lies the task of improving the electronic tools that support the Fleet Commander based ashore. He must be able to communicate, in any mode, whenever he needs to. He must do it in a reliable, rapid and secure way despite environmental conditions. He must be capable of commanding and controlling forces, in wide geographic dispersions under infinitely varied conditions, using real time data as a basis for his decisions.

The future will see increased effort to improve equipment and systems performance, reliability, speed, and capacity of communications. The area in which work will be done includes satellites and other space applications, Operational Control Centers, Automatic Voice Network (AUTOVON), Automatic Digital Network (AUTODIN), digital transmission of all types including computer communications, communications in a hostile environment, air traffic control and navigation, automated control and maintenance and automated detection and correction among others. All work undertaken will proceed with due regard to the requirement that shore, ship and airborne electronic systems must be compatible.

If the past is any criteria, there can be no doubt that the future effectiveness of the Navy's Fleet will reflect the technological progress of Ship and Shore Electronics. Today for the first time shore electronics is geared and stands ready to do its part in supporting the Fleet and to perform in a manner which will be a credit to the Bureau of Ships and the Navy.