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1964 - input magnetic tape unit of the 473L system's AN/FYQ-11 data processor set


CD 19670376 E&MP52.125


July 30, 1964

Input magnetic tape unit of the 473L system's AN/FYQ-11 Data Processor Set handles program loading and a variety of other data transfers. Data Processor Set can address 256 tape units to form a massive storage bank of programs and historical data.

additional text found

July 28, 1964

A huge electronic data-processing subsystem that will help the U.S. Air Force monitor and manipulate its worldwide defense and retaliatory forces with split-second precision never before possible was introduced today.

The unique new subsystem was demonstrated at the plant of its manufacturer, the Librascope Group of General Precision, Inc., where it is undergoing USAF acceptance tests.

Built around two large computers and 25 other electronic units, the data-processing equipment will become the nerve center of USAF's 473L command-and-control system already at work in the Air Force Command Post at the Pentagon.

The 473L complex will combine the skills of highly-trained men with electronic speeds and capabilities of Librascope’s data processing subsystem, an advanced input/output console subsystem, a group display subsystem, an extensive set of complex computer programs, and a globe-girding military communications network.

The Librascope subsystem was produced under a contract to the Electronic Systems Division of the Air Force Systems Command, which is responsible for overall management -- including development of equipment, procurement and installation -- through the 473L System Program Office.

Air Force Headquarters, user of the system, has provided operational guidance during the development/production cycle through the Air Force Command Post Systems Division under the USAF Deputy Chief of Staff/Plans.

The MITRE Corporation of Bedford, Mass., has acted as technical advisor to the 473L System Program Office. International Telephone and Telegraph Federal Laboratories and International Business Machines Federal Systems Division are major contractors for the 473L system: ITTFL for the input/output subsystem and IBM for the operations analysis and computer programming tasks.

A version of the 473L system is in operation now at the Air Force Command Post, but Librascope equipment will provide a step forward in speed and capability. The 473L system has been developed on an "evolutionary” basis, with improved techniques and equipment gradually phased into operation.

In carrying out its monitoring and management role, the 473L system collects, transmits, and processes information on USAF's world-wide resources and the countless conditions that affect them.

Automatically or upon request from officers in the Command Post, 473L rapidly flashes information on these resources on display devices. Air Force commanders use this information to make decisions on events while they are happening. The Joint Chiefs of Staff also have access to reports from 473L.

The improved 473L system will, essentially, provide up-to-the-moment status reports on all USAF resources. It will also enable commanders to (a) rapidly develop a plan of action, if required, and present them to the data processor to check for possible consequences. Both capabilities are unique.

With the aid of the improved 473L, commanders at Headquarters USAF will be able to plan, to organize, to evaluate, and to implement programs more closely attuned to actual events than ever before possible.

The system of processing and displaying information at the USAF Command Post has evolved over many years. It relied on several types of machines adapted to specific command-and-control problems.

The improved 473L, however, channels the talents of the skilled manpower available to the USAF and the capabilities of the new electronic equipment into sophisticated system specially capable of solving USAF command-and-control problems. Man of course, performs the decision-making role.

The efficiency and speed with which the improved 473L will perform its duties are attributed in great part to capability to operate on a "positive exception" principle. Information about USAF installations and operations is transmitted to the 473L's data-processing system, which compares the data to a plan on its memory.

If incoming information indicates that a plan is being carried out in a normal fashion, the data-processing system merely updates its records. However, if a variance, or exception, is noted, the data-processing system brings the condition to the attention of the cognizant agency at the Pentagon.

Librascope's data-processing system, demonstrated today, will become the operational hub of the 473L system. Its designation is the AN/FYQ-11 Data Processor Set.

R.W. Lee, Librascope president, said the AN/FYQ-11 represents the first application of a data-processing system to the solution of military command-and-control problems in real time.

"Because the equipment is fast, can store and retrieve an enormous amount of information, and can accept information from a great number of communications devices, USAF commanders can soon make decisions based on many events scattered around the entire globe while they are happening," Lee said.

"The need for this real-time capability has been increasing with the growth of faster, more powerful weapons and with the mushrooming of the U.S. defense commitments since World War II." he added.

"In effect," Lee said, "the 473L's presentation of the entire USAF preparedness picture will permit Pentagon planners to view the world as a single battleground, rather than the isolated sectors or theaters of operation of the past."

Librascope's data-processing subsystem is built around two large digital computers, a group of giant memory-storage disc units, a series of smaller communications-processing computers, and a series of up to 300 peripheral devices.

Automatic control for the entire 473L data-processing and display operation is exercised by the large core-memory computers.

Each computer can handle several jobs at once. It can control, monitor, accept, or transmit information within the 473L system without interrupting its second primary task -- performing tens of thousands of computations a second.

The prime information storage and retrieval bank for the 473L system is provided by the giant disc memory-consoles. Information on USAF resources is stored on huge 48-inch discs. Each magnetically coated disc has a capacity to store up to 20 million bits of information. (A bit of information is actually an electrical pulse deposited on the disc's magnetic coating.) Six discs make up one disc-memory unit. Up to 56 consoles representing a storage capacity of 2 billion bits of information, can be addressed by a single computer.

In response to inquiries from the Command Post, the disc memory is able to retrieve information quickly through a search-by-content method of retrieval.

Linking Librascope's AN/FYQ-11 Data Processor Set with the world-wide military communications network are the smaller communications-processing computers, called the L-119 Buffer Processors. These buffer processors automatically receive and transmit messages and other data.

The data-processing system can include an array of up to 256 devices, called the Uni-Record Subsystem. This equipment consists of high-speed magnetic tapes, card reader/punches, and high-printers that print at the rate of up to 1000 lines per minute. This array of equipment is used for high-volume data storage, data conversion, and printing tasks.

General Precision, Inc., is the principle operating subsidiary of General Precision Equipment Corp., Terrytown, N.Y.

Original Caption by Science Service
General Precision, Inc. Librascope Group

National Museum of American History


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