Capt. Erick N. Swenson, USNR (Ret.)is a project manager for special projects in the Surface Ship Systems Division, Hughes Aircraft Company, Fullerton, Calif, where he has been employed since his retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1975. Originally trained as an electronics technician during WWII in the Captain Eddy program, he later received a BS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester, Rochester, N. Y. in 1950. Subsequent engineering education was received at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Penn., and the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. After commissioning, he was ordered to duty as the electronics division officer on the USS Missouri (BB-63) and electronics ships superintendent at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, Calif. When the design of the Naval Tactical Data System began in the mid-1950s, Lt. (j.g.) Swenson was ordered to the Bureau of Ships, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., as the junior engineering duty only officer assigned to the project. From 1962 to 1965, LCdr. Swenson was assigned as the BuShips technical representative on the program at Remington Rand Univac, St. Paul, Minn. For the next ten years, he returned to BuShips/NavSea/NAVSEC as the NTDS project officer. During this time the project expanded considerably, foreign military sales were heavily involved, and interoperability with other services and countries were established. His final effort on active duty was to instigate the redesign of the previous Spruance class destroyers into the newer Admiral Kidd class improvement program. He is a registered professional electrical engineer in the State of California, listed in Who's Who in the World, is a life member of ASNE, and chairman of the Long Beach/Greater LA Section.
NTDS — A PAGE IN NAVAL HISTORY
Article first published online: 18 MAR 2009
© 1988 by the American Society of Naval Engineers
Naval Engineers Journal
Volume 100, Issue 3, pages 53–61, May 1988
How to Cite
SWENSON, E. N., MAHINSKE, E. B. and STOUTENBURGH, J. S. (1988), NTDS — A PAGE IN NAVAL HISTORY. Naval Engineers Journal, 100: 53–61. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-3584.1988.tb01490.x
- Issue published online: 18 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 18 MAR 2009
- Cited By
A little over thirty years ago, a group of naval engineers were assembled by the Bureau of Ships to develop a new system approach to the combat information center (CIC). The CIC of World War II, with its “grease pencil” plots and voice telling of tactical information from sensors and other ships, could no longer provide the timely, coordinated reaction to postwar threats. This project group led the Navy into the new world of large-scale, high-speed digital electronics and into a new mode of conducting naval warfare as well. There were no off-the-shelf computers of the requisite capability, size and reliability; what were available were monstrous vacuum tube computers. There were no display equipments that were “conversant” in both the digital language of the computer and the analog language of the sensors and the weapon systems. Who ever heard, at that time, of a computer running a tactical communication net automatically? It was hard enough to find sufficient numbers of engineers who knew what a digital computer was. This paper, by three naval engineers in the implementing engineering office, depicts the evolvement of the Naval Tactical Data Systems (NTDS) as they saw it. It discusses the problems that stemmed from the transition from the old world of analog into the new digital world, the system concepts that steered the development; the key decisions that were made; new electronic equipment and processes that became necessary; and the need of the mangagement to face the real world of deadlines, ship schedules and operational requirements.