In praise of a long COTS track record

To The Editor: I just finished reading Edward Walsh's article about the Navy's use of COTS on submarines in the March issue of Military & Aerospace Electronics

To The Editor:

I just finished reading Edward Walsh's article about the Navy's use of COTS on submarines in the March issue of Military & Aerospace Electronics. It reminded me of when I worked at Northrop in Anaheim, Calif., from 1960 to 1970 on the Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile program.

The first on-board Polaris Test and Readiness Equipment (MTRE) was COTS. We used commercial-off-the-shelf telephone gear, commercial Perkins power supplies, vacuum tubes, Automatic Electric, nuts, bolts, screws, wire, etc. We racked and stacked them in Western Device Commercial enclosures, and bolted them on board the Subs and tenders. I even designed a paper tape punch using a Singer sewing machine motor.

This was for the SSBN 598 George Washington-class Polaris-carrying submarines. The DATICO Type "C" MTRE stayed on board for over 12 years. Some of the captains refused to let Northrop (and Lockheed) take the commercial units out of service. It took a direct order from SP-22 to get them to remove the Northrop DATICO.

This equipment was true COTS and perhaps the first use of COTS by the Navy and this was over 40 years ago. Adm. Rickover loved us. We beat all schedules and cost.

Fred Barber
quality assurance and logistics manager
Globalstar L.P.
San Jose, Calif.

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